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VOL. 16 




Group I. 

Foundations op thb Nation 

Vol.1 European Backgrotind of American 
History, by Edward Potts Chey- 
ney, A.M., Prof. Hist. Univ. of Pa. 





a Basis of American History, by 
Livingston Farrand, M.D., Pro!. 
Anthropology Coltmibia Univ. 

3 Spain in America, by Edward Gay- 
lord Bourne, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Yale Univ. 

4 England in America, by Lyon Gar- 
diner Tyler, LL.D., President 
William and Mary College. 

5 Colonial Self - Government, by 
Charles McLean Andrews, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Bryn Mawr College. 

Group II. 

Transpormation into a Nation 

Vol. 6 Provincial America, by Evarts 
Boutell Greene, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Illinois State Univ. 

7 France in America, by Reuben 
Gold Thwaites, LL.D., Sec. Wis- 
consin State Hist. Soc. 


Vol. S Prelimiaanes of tbe Revolutjon, 
by George Elliott Howard, Ph.D., 
ftof. Hist. Univ. of Nebraska. 
" 9 The American Revolution, b; 
OaudeHalstead Van Tyne, Ph.D., 
Asst. Prof. Hist. Univ. of Michi- 


" lo The Confederation and the Consti- 
tution, by Andrew CuimiiighaiD 
McLaufUin, A.M., Director Bu- 
reau Hist. Research Carnegie In- 

Group III. 
Detblophbnt op the Nation 
Vol. II Tbe Federalist System, by John 
Spencer Bassett. Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Trinity Coll. (N. C). 
" II Tbe jeffereonian System, by Ed- 
wardChanning, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

Pres. Univ. of Arizona. 

•• 14 Riseof the New West, by Freder- 
ick Jackson Turner, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Univ. of Wisconsin. 

" 15 Jacksonian Democracy, by Will- 
iam MacDonald. LL.D., Prof. 
Hist. Brown Univ. 

Group IV. 
Trial op Nationality 
Vol. 16 Slavery and Abolition, by Albert 
Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Prof, Hist. 

Harvard Univ. 





Vol. Z7 Westward Extension, bv Geox^ge 
Pierce Garrison, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Texas. 

z8 Parties and Slavery, by Theodore 
Clarke Smith, Ph.D., Prof. Am. 
Hist. Williams CoUe^. 

ZQ Causes of the Civil War, bv Ad- 
miral French Ensor Chadwick, 

ao The Appeal to Arms, by James 
Kendall Hosmer, LL.D., recent 
Librarian Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 

az Outcome of the Civil War, by 
James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D. , re- 
cent Lib. Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 

Group V. 

National Expansion 

Vol. 22 Reconstruction, Political and Eco- 
nomic, by William Archibald Dun- 
ning, Ph.D., Prof. Hist, and Politi- 
cal Philosophy Columbia Univ. 

23 National Development, by Edwin 
Erie Sparks, A.M., Dean of Aca- 
demic College. Univ. of Chicago. 

24 National Problems, by Davis R. 
Dewey, Ph.D., Prof essor of Eco- 
nomics, Mass. Inst, of Technology. 

25 America the World Power, by 
John H. Latan6. Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Washington and Lee Univ. 

26 Ideals of American Government, 
by Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., 
Prof. Hist. Harvard Univ. 

27 Index to the Series, by David 
Mavdole Matteson, A.M., Harvard 
College Library. 






Tbs ICAMACHuavm Hiitoucal Sociitt 

OuiIm Pnaete Adam, LL.D.. Pnd^nt 
Samud A. Onea. UJ)., '^ue-Proidait 
Junat Potd Rbodas, LL,D.. id Vico-Pmidast 
Bdwud ChanninB. Ph.D., Prof. Hi*toiT Hairvd 

Wonhinston C Poid, Cliief of Divioon of IISS. 


The Wucokbin Hwtobical SocivrT 
Rmben G. ThwuUs. IM.D., Secretvy and Super- 
Pndoick J. Tttiner, Ph.D., Prof, of American Hia- 
Jamei D. Butlor, LL.D., formerly Prof. Wiacoa>iD 

WiUiam W. Wisbt. Pnsident 
Heniy E. Lcaler. Curator 

WiUiam Gordon UcCabe. Utt.D., Pmident 
Lyon G. Tyler, LL.D., Prea. of William aad Uary 

Judge David C. RichardioD 

J. A. C, Cbaodkr, Piofeiaot Richmond CoUese 

Bdwaid WiliOQ Jame* 

Judge Joha Henningrr Reagan, Preadent 
GeDT>« P. Garriion, Ph.D., Prof, of History UdI- 

vernty of Teiaa 
Judge C.W Raina 
Judge Zachary T. PuUmore 











[ harvardN 
i library i 

1^1 -A'. 

Q ^^ctJiJi^U. Ji-^i 

Capyricht, vfA, br HAirn ft BioTHUtt. 









Author's Preface xiii 

I. American .Social Characteristics (1830- 

1860) 3 

II. The Intellectual Life (1830-1840) ... 19 

III. The Era of Transportation (1830-1850) . ^^ 

IV. Slavery as an Economic System (1607- 

1860) 49 

V. The Slave-Holder and His Neighbors (1830- 

1860) 67 

VI. The Free Negro (1830-1860) 79 

VII. Plantation Life (1830-1860) 92 

VIII. Control of the Slaves (1830-1860) . . . 109 

IX. The Slave-Market (1830-1860) 123 

X. The Defence of Slavery (1830-1860) . . 136 

XI. The Anti-Slavery Movement (1624-1840) . 152 

XII. Garrisonian Abolition (i 830-1 845) . . . 170 
xiii. Non-Garrisonian Abolition (1831-1860) . . 188 

XIV. The Abolition Propaganda (1830-1840) . . 202 

XV. The Abolitionist and the Slave (1830- 

1840) 215 

XVI. The Abolitionist and the Slave-Holder 

(1830-1860) 232 


xvti. Abolition and Government (1830-1840) . 342 

XVIII. Anti-Slavery in Congress (1831-1840) . . 356 
zix. Interstate and International Relations 

OF Slavery (18*2-1842) 276 

XX. Panic op 1837 (1837-1841) 296 

XXI. The Eppects op Aholition {1830-1860) . . 309 

XXII. Critical Essay on Authorities .... 334 
Index 345 

Distribution op Population (1840) . . . . / 
The United States in 1840 (in colors). . . 
Slavery and Slave-Tradb (1830-1850) (in 


Routes op the Underground Railroad 


Presidential Election (1836 I 
Presidential Election (1840) ) 

'MS- ■"••"~i~- g—7 - -— ii^J— »h 


EXCEPT perhaps the straggle between patriots 
and tones at the outbreak of the Revolution, 
no controversy in the history of the United States 
has aroused such passion and led to such momen- 
tous results as that between the advocates and the 
opponents of slavery. Yet in its initial movement 
the organized propaganda, to which the term abo- 
lition is usually applied, was disassociated from 
political parties ; and nearly a quarter of a century 
passed before a national election turned upon the 
issue of the farther territorial extension of 'slavery. 
It is therefore possible to separate from the party 
questions which arose during the administrations of 
Jackson and Van Buren the elements of the slavery 
contest; to sketch the conditions of the slave, of 
t^ master, and of the anti-slavery agitator; and 
Vto trace the controversy from ^he pres^ and public 
meetings to the state governments, and thence to 
Congress. The book has the double purpose of 
describing the conditions of slavery and the state 
of mind of those interested for it or against it, and 
at the same time of recording the events which 
mark the anti-slavery agitation. The conditions of 

VOL. XVI. — X 


the plantations were little changed down to the 
Civil War, and I have therefore frequently illus- 
trated them by the testimony of observers later 
than 1840; the events, however, are followed out 
only to about 1841 ; and later causes of excitement 
will appear in their proper setting, in subsequent 
volumes of the series. 

The first three chapters of this volume describe 
the social and economic background of the struggle. 
Chapters v. to ix. are devoted to a description of the 
master and slave as they lived together in a social 
combination which could be shaken apart only by 
a great convulsion. Chapters x. to xvii. take up 
the obverae of the medal, the abolitionists and, 
their methods and relation to master, slave, and 
government. Chapters xviii. and xix. carry the con- 
troversy into the national government. Chapter xx. 
is on the political events of Van Buren's administra- 
tion. Chapter xxi. is a summary of the actual effects 
of the movement. The authorities upon which the 
volume is based are in part enumerated in chapter 
xxii. But such references cannot include the per- 
sonal impressions gained from association with 
southern whites, with the descendants of slaves, 
and with military £md civil actors in the great drama 
on both sides. 

I am unlier obligations to Dr. Albert Gaillard 
Hart, to Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
and to Mr. "William Roscoe Thayer for reading the 
proofs and making valuable suggestions, but I 



cannot lay to their charge any errors in point of 
view or statement of fact which may appear in 
this voltmie. 

It is hard for a son and grandson of abolitionists 
to approach so explosive a question with imparti- 
ality ; but the book is intended to show that there 
was more than one side to the controversy, and 
that both the milder form of opposition called anti- 
slavery and the extremer form called abolition were 
confronted by practical difficulties which to many 
public-spirited and conscientious men seemed in- 
smmoimtablc. It is for later writers in the series 
to show how those difficulties were finally sur- 

Albert Bushnell Hart. 







IN most periods of American history a central 
thread can be discovered about which are ar- 
ranged the events of the times; but in the admin- 
istrations of Jackson and Van Buren a variety of 
questions struggled for precedence. A previous 
writer in this series has undertaken to disentangle 
the political and economic controversies of that 
interesting time, leaving the complexities of the 
anti-slavery movement for this separate treatment ; 
but it must not be supposed that in the people's 
minds slavery was disconnected from other economic 
problems which pressed upon the cotmtry, or that 
abolition was entirely different from the other social 
agitations of the period, or that even the agitators 
realized that slavery had the latent power of dividing 
the Union and bringing about civil war. 

Many other sectional problems arose in that pe- 


nod : the seaboard and the interior squabbled over 
internal improvements ; east and west were some- 
times in antagonism over public lands; north and 
south were at odds on nullification. Why should not 
the slavery conflict also come up and go down again 
like other passionately disputed questions? Why 
did the controversy, once fairly started, grow fiercer 
every year and bring in new and still more divisive 
issues? Why was the national government, which 
did its best to keep out of the controversy, drawn in 
deeper and deeper, till Congress became the forum 
of an excited discussion over slavery ? These ques- 
tions involve nmny disputed points which still per- 
plex people, states, sections, and the Union; and 
the only way to answer them is to make clear the 
moral, social, and economic conditions peculiar to 
slavery which caused the rising feeling of sectional 
bitterness and distrust; to reconstruct a vanished 
civilization ; to breathe the breath of life into mas- 
ter, slave, and abolitionist, years since in their 

No American in the thirties undertook to analyze 
and describe the standards and aspirations of his 
countrymen; for the social life of the period we 
must depend on the testimony of many observers, 
each of whom saw only a part. Several foreigners 
undertook a more general task. Mrs. Trollope's 
book * was accepted by many people in England as 
a typical accotmt of a disagreeable people. This 

' Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans, 


Englishwoman in 1827 dropped into a boarding- 
house in Cincinnati, saw the crude side of a fron- 
tier community — ^the "quick feeders," the empty- 
headed yotmg women, and the tobacco chewers — 
and too late discovered a more refined and in- 
tellectual society in the east. Of characteristic 
American life she saw far less than Harriet Mar- 
tineau, who came over in 1834, and in her two 
years' stay travelled widely north and south. She 
found plenty to criticise in American life, yet ap- 
preciated the vigor and the advance of the nation.* 
A third foreigner, accepted as one of the most far- 
seeing observers and critics of American character 
and statecraft, was Alexis de Tocqueville, a French- 
man, who came over in 1831, with the express pur- 
pose of studying the institutions of the Americans, 
and in 1835 arid 1840 published his Democracy in 
America, This was the first scientific estimate of 
popular government in America, going beneath the 
self-satisfaction of a successful republic to discover 
the real forces which animated it, and to find out 
how far it swerved from its own standards. He saw 
in America a big, bustling commtmity, intensely self- 
conscious, yet in general sticking to its basal prin-^ 
ciple of eqtxality of opporttmity and encouraging 
the individual to make the most of himself. 

All three of these critics noticed the lack of har^ 
mony between free democratic government and 
slavery, and Tocqueville foresaw a menace to Amer- 

* Martineau, Society in America, passim. 


lean democracy in the presence of a servile race, so 
that, even if slavery were to disappear, the prejudices 
to which it had given birth wotdd remain; and his 
final generalization was that slavery, which is " tm- 
just and by political economy is prejudicial, and 
which is now contrasted with democratical liberties 
and the information of our age, cannot survive." * 

No foreign or home-grown criticism could much 
affect either the vigorous growing democracy or the 
slave-holder ; but their attention was caught by the 
sectional rivalry of the north and south. For this 
rising hostility new material was furnished by the 
censuses of 1830 and 1840, which revealed the fact 
that the free states had permanently forged ahead 
of the slave-holding communities in numbers : from 
about 2,000,000 each in 1790, the north in fifty years 
rose to 9,100,000 natives, besides 600,000 immigrants, 
a gain of 40 per cent, over 1830; while the south 
showed 7,300,000, a gain of 27 per cent. The main 
difference was the rapid birth-rate in the northeast- 
em and northwestern states, where cheap land and 
variety of employment made the conditions of life 
easy. New York state increased in ten years by 
more than half a million ; while Maryland, Virginia, 
and North Carolina were nearly at a stand-still. 

The urban population was growing faster than the 
average, but most of it was in the north. Boston, 
New York, and Philadelphia were still big, sprawling 

* Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Reeves* translation), 
I., 364. 388. 


towns, ill -paved, faintly lighted, and miserably 
policed, and outside of half a dozen places the south 
had no cities at all; even Washington was still a 
dirty country town, where hogs ran at large. Charles- 
ton seemed more to "resemble a city of the Euro- 
pean continent, at least in the style of its houses, 
than either Boston or New York." * Savannah was 
a winter resort for southerners, and some people 
foresaw a migration of invalids and winter visitors 
from the north. New Orleans was the southern city 
par excellence, and the only one in the lower south 
except Charleston which had a lively commerce and 
direct relation with the old world. Most visitors 
were interested in the old French town, and the 
St. Charles Hotel, "with its large and elegant Co- 
rinthian portico, and the lofty swelling dome which 
surmounts it." ' 

Social life in the United States was much influ- 
enced by the prosperity of the decade from 1827 to 
1837, but as yet there were few men of large fortune 
in the country: the richest planters probably had 
net incomes of less than fifty thousand dollars a year ; 
and Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia, and John Jacob 
Astor, of New York, were almost the only reputed 
millionaires. In the north there were few owners of 
large estates divided into farms ; most of the north- 
em money came from trade and manufacturing, 
although the foimdations of some great fortimes, 

* Bremer, Homes of the New World, I., 263. 
'Mackay. Western World, II., 78. 


such as the Astor's, were being laid by the purchase 
of real-estate in growing cities. In the north, new 
individuals were constantly pushing to the front, 
and society was in a state of flux; in the south, 
hereditary family dignities were better established, 
and it was hard to break into the charmed circle. 

Social life in 1830 was not essentially different 
from that of 1830.' The most significant thing was 
the contrast within the same nation, and even the 
same state, between the traditional civilization de- 
rived from England and the robust life of the fron- 
tier: in wealth, in the appliances of trade and 
manufactures, in education and in literattu%, the 
Atlantic coast was closely allied with Europe ; but 
the west and southwest was almost all frontier, and 
in northern New England and New York, in central 
Pennsylvania, and in the heart of all the southern 
states were large areas with a population of hun- 
dreds ^f thousands still in the rude conditions of the 
early eighteenth century. 

These conditions were reflected in an impatience 
with orderly government. Though laws and con- 
stitutions were changed with amazing rapidity, peo- 
ple could not wait for the law to take its effect. No 
yellow journal of to-day has a more revolting list of 
crimes than could be made up from the press of that 
time.* The duello had not yet disappeared from any 
part of the coimtry, and in 1838 Jonathan Cilley, a 

' See Turner, Nmv West (Am. Nation, XIV.), chaps, ii.-vi. 
■ See extracu in Brothers, Unittd StaUs, 161-385. 



member of Congress from New Hampshire, provoked 
a qiiarrel which resulted in his being challenged and 
killed by Graves, a member from Kentucky.' Alter- 
cations in the legislature and in Congress were not 
uncommon. Elections were frequently scenes of 
petty civil war.* Fires were regxilar occasions for a 
fight between rival fire companies, who often let the 
buildings bum while they were settling their differ- 
ences. In 1834 came the binning of the Ursuline 
Convent, within sight of Bunker Hill montmient, by 
an anti-Catholic mob, who drove out the nims and 
their pupils, with the eventual loss of two lives; and 
the only prisoner convicted for a share in the out- 
rage was pardoned by the governor.* The negroes 
in the northern cities, as the poorest and most friend- 
less of the population, usually suffered from any 
mob, no matter what had been its original occasion ; 
and the abolitionists came in for the most determined 
assaults of these lawless efforts to secure law and 
order.* Foreign immigration, which pushed men out 
of previous employment, organization of strikes on a 
larger scale than had been known before, attempts 
to get political control of city governments, all con- 
tributed to this reign of misrule. Perhaps the most 
decisive reason for it was the weakness of the local 
governments: not a single city had a disciplined 

' Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, ad series, XII., aSj-igi. 
* Brothers, United States, 397-316, 4>a-43i. 
■ Ibid., 503-508; Mrs, Whitney, Burning of the Convent. 
' See chap, xvii., below. 


police force, and the state militia could not be relied 
upon to fight a mob. 

In the south the few cities were no better gov- 
erned than those of the north, and there was a 
greater indifference to human suffering, and brutal 
treatment of prisoners and other defenceless people. 
Alongside the strength, vigor, and hopefulness of the 
frontier was the tmcouthness, the ignorance, the 
prejudice, and the latent barbarism of the man 
who spent his life in conquering nature and the 

This was shown in the ordinary administration 
of the criminal law: at a time when the Pennsyl- 
vania separate-cell penitentiary was known through- 
out the world as a model of humane treatment, the 
Georgia state-prison was a dirty place where "a 
piece of cooked meat was laid on the table for each 
prisoner without knives, forks, or plates." ' An 
abolitionist inmate of the Missouri penitentiary from 
1 841 imtil 1845 fotmd it an awful place of cruelty 
and wretchedness, in which the warden came home 
drunk at midnight to drag white men out of their 
cells to be whipped before him, and where white 
women prisoners were sometimes chained to the 
wall.' As late as 1854 a traveller saw a pillory and 
stocks in a Mississippi town, and was told that " a 
white man had been recently stripped, whipped and 

* See Turner, New West {Am, Nation^ XIV.), chaps, iv.-viii. 
' Saxe- Weimar, Travels, II., 20. 

• Thompson, Prison Life, passim. 


branded with a red hot iron by officers of the 
law." ' 

The worst prison, however, was more merciful 
than lynch law. During the Revolution there was 
an actual Judge Charles Lynch in Virginia who took 
the responsibility of whipping loyalists, and gave his 
name to a system ; but after 1 830 the term " Lynch 
Law" came to be applied also to killings.* The one 
justification of such a system is that frontier com- 
munities which have not provided themselves with 
the machinery of the law are subject to desperate 
and organized malefactors, and hence the practice 
gained headway in the west and southwest; but in 
the south the thing grew while the chief reason for 
it was disappearing. At first applied to ordinary 
criminals, such as murderers and gamblers,* it soon 
began to reach negroes : one was burned alive by a 
mob near Greenville, South Carolina, in 1825, and 
fifty-six ascertained cases of lynching negroes oc- 
cuired between 1823 and i860. 

K one looks for the most distinctive feature of the 
American people in 1830, it will, not be home life oif \/ 
social disorder, but the religious and philanthropiq ^ 
life and experiences of the time. Depravity ana 
crime were common enough from end to end of the 
Union, and though people were squeamish about 
theatres and dancing, social life was in most ways 

' Olmsted, Back Country, 146. 

• Cutler, Lynch Law, »3-40, 116. 

■ Stuart, North America, II., 169; Cutler, Lynch Lain, 98-100. 


grosser and ruder than at present; but in most 
communities, next to getting a living, the most im- 
portant thing in life was religion, or at least 
religious observances. Puritanism, as a political 
force, was not yet dead in New England ; not until 
1835 was the Congregational church disestablished 
in Massachusetts, its last stronghold; and a severe 
type of piety was conmion throughout the coun- 
try. For the ruder element, Simday might be a 
I)eriod of carousal or of cock-fighting, according to 
the latitude, but to most respectable people it was a 
serious and depressing day. A morning and an af- 
ternoon sermon were the ordinary provision, com- 
bined in many conunimities with a " Thursday Lect- 
ure," which was a third sermon; and on Stmdays 
and week-days was added a variety of religious ex- 
ercises — sprayer meetings, conference meetings, class 
meetings, and love-feasts. For the children a door 
of hope was opened in the Sunday-school, which by 
1830 was making its way throughout the cotmtry; 
but it was not a place of perfect ease : children were 
expected weekly to learn and repeat not less than 
ten verses of Scripture and were encotiraged to pro- 
digious feats of Biblical memory. The Simday- 
school book of the time was not the washed-out 
novel now furnished to good children, but an ac- 
count of the early piety of some poor little creat- 
ure, whose reward for goodness it was to be taken 
away from his parents imtimely. 

On the frontier the religious exercises were per- 


force simpler and less frequent, though the camp- 
meeting, by its intensity, furnished plenteous excite- 
ment. It was an era of revivals : great movements 
of religious fervor swept over states and cities, or, 
as in the panic year of 1857, over the whole country, 
arousing and quickening thousands of persons who 
thenceforward took their part in the work of the 
churches. In this day of many interests and few 
enthusiasms it is hard to realize the immense force 
of religion and religious organizations upon the minds 
of the people. "Hell and brimstone "preaching was 
stillcommon. Revivalistslike Finney and Nettleton' 
preached the tortures of damned souls until people 
shrieked and dropped fainting in their pews. Hell 
was a place very near at hand to the unbeliever, and 
even the faithful might under some systems of 
theology "fall from grace" and lose his birthright 
eternally. The theological schools ran to " systems " 
which were a combination of philosophy, l(^ic, and 
St. Paul, accounting for the beginning and end of all 
things; and men like the Hodges, of Princeton, or 
Park, of Andover, sent out a school of disciples. 

Throughout the country the churches were more 
than religious organizations: they were ganglia of 
social life and intellectual influence, strengthened by 
fifty years of national organization. The Congrega- 
tional chiirch, the Episcopal church, and the Pres- 
byterian church were the strongest denominations 
in New England, the middle, and the older southern 

' Davenport, Primitivt Traits itt Religious Revivals, chop. x. 


states; the Methodist and Baptist churches took 
root in the west, where indomitable men like Peter 
Cartwright went, riding circuit, holding camp-meet- 
ings, arousing the impenitent, comforting the seeker 
for salvation, and thrashing the rowdies who dis- 
turbed his meetings.^ Most of the great churches 
threw off fragments which formed new sects: such 
were the Unitarians, seceders from the Congr^;a- 
tional church; and several offshoots of the Metho- 
dists and Baptists. The Catholic church, main- 
tained up to that time chiefly by descendants of 
English or French colonial settlers, now b^;an to 
receive accessions, particularly from the Irish im- 

All the chtirches were touched by a new feeling 
of responsibility to mankind. Foreign missions, first 
suggested at Williams College in 1806, were taken 
up by most of the strong denominations; and in 
181 2 they began to organize home missions upon 
the frontiers, both western and southern.* The 
American Bible Society, foimded in 1816, carried 
on a beneficent circulation of the Scriptures, which 
lasted on a large scale for more than half a century. 
In all these movements the south, thinly settled and 
in many places imable to support a paid or educated 
ministry, profited less than the north, although the 
devotion to the churches was as strong and active 
as in the north. 

'Cartwright, Autobiography, 141-143, 231,311-316. 
'McMaster, United StaUs, IV., 551. 


The chief characteristic of the religious life of 
the time was its sincere effort to make religion. / 
effective, to apply the touchstone of Christ's teach-\ if 
ii^ and life to all moral qttestions, to make in- 
dividual and community correspond to the prin- 
ciples of Christianity. Hence, in a country where 
all forms of state aid to rel^on disappeared, 
church buildings were midtiplied, missionaries were 
supported, denominational colleges sprang up. To 
the amiable it was an tmspeakable grief that 
millions of people should be doomed to ever- 
lasting perdition because the gospel had not been 
brought to their ears; and one of the main tap- ^ 
roots of abolition was the feeling of horror and 
responsibility that hundreds of thousands of negro 
slaves, because outside the fold of accredited be- 
Uevers, should be going down to the pit of endless 

This passionate desire to save the perishing, as 
well as to raise the standards of the people, led \ 
directly to reform by legislatioD, such as the move- J V 
ment ^;ainst the recognized excess in the use of 
intoxicating liquor, begtm in 1817, enlarged by the 
Washington societies in 1830, and later developed 
into a demand for state statutes forbidding the 
liquor traffic altogether.* In the thirties also sprang 
up the Woman's Rights movement; at first directed 

■ Cf. Uartineau, Soeuly in Anurica. II., pt, iv. 
*Cl.Saui^,PaTtitt andSlavtry {Am. Nation. XVIII.). chap. 


to the improvement of girls' schools and the placing 
of a married woman's property in her own hands* it 
speedily went much further, and in 1848 extended 
to a demand for woman suffrage.^ 

One of the characteristics of all these reform move- 
ments was the feeling that each was " a cause ** to 
which people might well devote their whole lives; 
and they were organized in national societies, fur- 
nished with newspaper organs, and supported by 
frequent meetings and appeals to the public. Be- 
tween 1820 and 1840 this tmeasy spirit took form 
in a series of socialistic commtmities. When the old 
statutes against strikes and combinations of work- 
ing-men were being modified, it was an easy transi- 
tion to the idea that those who worke4 with their 
hands might set themselves apart into self-support- 
ing commtmities. The Shakers, fotmded half a cen- 
tury earlier, were still organizing vigorous societies 
which were practically mediaeval convents over 
again. Another commimistic society was that of 
the Rappists, at New Harmony, Indiana; their 
work was taken over in 1826 by Robert Dale Owen, 
an enthusiastic Englishman, who made a declara- 
tion in favor of free love and saw his commtmity 
melt away. Later the influence of Fourier was felt 
in the organization of little conmumities called 
phalansteries, especially in western New York and 
northern Ohio; and various attempts were made 

' On the reform movements, cf. Martineau, Sociiiy in America, 
IL, chap. iv. 

j84s1 social characteristics 17 

to found religious socialistic bodies in the far 

Joseph Smith, of Vermont, in 1827, according to 
his account, began to receive "revelations," one of 
which directed him to certain golden plates which 
through two stones, the Urtrn and Thununim, he 
was able to read, and to translate into a book, pub- 
lished in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. It was writ- 
ten in Biblical style, an interminable account of the 
lost tribes of Israel in North America, and incliided 
many prophecies apt for the times.* First organized 
at Manchester, Vermont, in April, 1830, with six 
members, the Mormons moved in 1831 to Kirtland, 
Ohio, where they took the name of "Latter Day 
Saints." After attempting to settle in Missouri, 
Smith gathered in 1840, at Nauvoo, Illinois, a settle- 
ment of about fifteen thousand people. He aroused 
the hostility of , the local authorities, and in 1844 
was put in jail, and there killed by a mob. This 
obscure sect, fotmded on the materialistic basis that 
God is a material being, " having a body, parts and 
passions,"* supported by a system of tithes, and in- 
spired by timely revelations, had a success and en- 
durance which makes it stand out from all other 
socialistic communities of the time. 

At the other pole of reform through social organi- 

' UcCarthy, Early Social and Religious Experimtnts in Iowa; 
Pakins and Wick, The Amana Society; Saxe-Weimar, Travels, 
II.. cbap. xxi. * lAno, Mormons, chap. xi. 

• L»lor, Cyelapadia, II.. 910. 




zation was Brook Faim, which sprang out of an 
idealism traceable in the ruggedest Puritans of the 
New England colonies; the force reappeared in the 
'* transcendental " movement, partly philosophical, 
partly religious, and partly social, headed by Ralph 
Waldo Emerson. A band of enthusiastic men and 
women gathered in 1841 at Brook Farm, near Bos- 
ton, among whom as residents or sympathetic 
visitors were Charles A. Dana, later editor of the 
New York Sun, Margaret Ftdler, Thomas Wentworth 
Higginson, G. W. Curtis, Emerson, and Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, who in his BlUhedale Romance idealized 
this commtmity. After six years' existence a fire 
quenched the spirits of the Brook-Farmers, who did 
not know how to farm, and the institution ceased 
to be ; though the influence of those who experienced 
it has remained an intellectual and moral force in 
New England and throughout the cotmtry.* 

* Wendell, Literary History of America, 304-310. 


TO describe in detail all the interesting fonns of 
American social life woiild be a long task; but 
the anti-slavery movement made siich use of appeals 
to the understanding that some accoimt of the intel- 
lectual conditions of the time is necessary. In 1830, 
though the Americans were still far from being a 
literary people, they were a reading people: the 
remotest commimities studied and quoted that 
fountain of English, the King James version of the 
Scriptures; and in the larger places there was a 
book-reading public which, first of all, applied itself 
to the English classics, especially the eighteenth- 
century poets and essayists. The English reviews 
were imported or reprinted and were widely circu- 
lated; and as the new school of English authors 
sprang up— Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Macaulay, 
and Tennyson — they found an eager public in the 
new world. Outside of the towns there was in 
New England, and those parts of New York, Penn- 
sylvania, and the west which were influenced by 
New England, an intelligent reading community of 


farmers, whose daughters taught the district schools, 
or, going into the mills of the factory towns, founded 
little literary jotimals.* 

These rur£d communities were much aided by 
schools and academies planted in their midst, though 
imtil near 1800 there was no public provision for 
teaching girls, and dtiring the first third of the 
nineteenth century even the New England public 
schools, outside of a few towns, were miserably 
housed and poorly taught, while the rich states of 
New York and Pennsylvania foimded no general 
system of free schools till 181 2. 

When, in 1837, Horace Mann was appointed at the 
head of what was virtually a Massachusetts depart- 
ment of education, he exhausted his vocabulary in 
describing the state public schools, which he said 
were in session a little more than four months on 
the average, costing the state less than three dollars 
annually for every child of school age, paying aver- 
age wages to women teachers of less than twelve 
dollars a month, and educating not more than two- 
thirds of the school-children.* His services as secre- 
tary of the state board of education did much to 
remove this stigma and to place the Massachusetts 
schools in the van. A great step in educating the 
teacher and giving a professional standing was the 

* Lucy Larcom, New England Girlhood, 209-325; for educa- 
tion and literary life in general, see Hart, Contemporaries, III., 

" 151-157. 

* Horace Mann, Report, 1837 (in Works, II.. 400, 414, 423). 


founding of normal schools, soon established through- 
put the northern states. 

Though popular education at public expense was 
already taken up in the west and made a principle 
in all the American commonwealths north of Mason 
and Dixon's line, on the frontier and in the south 
the conditions were much worse than in New Eng- 
land. Abraham Lincoln said that when he was a 
boy in Illinois a man who knew algebra was thought 
to be a wizard; and not a single southern state, 
previous to the Civil War, set up a general system 
of free public schools. Outside of the cities, which 
provided for themselves under state laws, the poor 
whites had little opportunity for education. In 
1850, of 350,000 adult native whites in Massachu- 
setts, only 1000 were illiterate; out of 500,000 in 
Virginia, 75,000 were illiterate, as were, of course, 
nine-tenths of the negroes.' 

This backwardness was not for want of wamiag, 
tut rather in defiance of the principles which Jeffer- 
son laid down. He desired that Virginia should 
establish free local schools everywhere, that the most 
promising pupils should be provided with high-school 
instruction, and the most successful pupils of the 
high schools with collie training. Yet a northern 
public man with some experience in the south pooh- 

■ A. D. Hayo, Ctmmon SchtoU in th* Southern SlaUi. in U. S. 
Bure«n of Education, RtporU. 1900-1901, pp. 357-401; S. B. 
Weekf, Beginning of tkt Common School System in the South, in 
ibid., 1896-1897, II., 1379-1474; Olmsted, Back Country, 330- 


poohed at schools because it is " the examples in our 
daily contemplation at home, and in domestk: life, 
not the discipline of schools, that shape the morals 
of a people"; and he adds the familiar argument 
that "the attainment of an education superior to 
our station or the business for ^diich we are destined 
is very apt to unfit a man for both.** * 

For secondary education a few northern cities had 
public high schools, and boys were often fitted for 
college by the village parson; but the defects in 
public instruction were in part supplied by excellent 
endowed academies, charging moderate fees and 
serving as an intellectual centre for miles around. 
Many of them received boarding pupils — in some 
cases, both in the east and west, boys and girls being 
educated together. The south was very deficient in 
education of this grade, especially for girls; for 
though academies were early founded, the constitu- 
ency of people able to send their children away to 
school was small, and the schools lacked support. 

The college education of the time, though in many 
ways narrow, was encoxuaging. The half-dozen pre- 
Revolutionary colleges in half a century grew to 
about sixty, of which almost half were in the south. 
The first provision for a public state university was 
made by North Carolina in 1791, although it was 
many years before it became effective ; most of the 
new collies, north and south, were planted as 
mu'series of learning and piety by the various re- 

^ Paulding, Letters from the South (ed. of 1835), I., a; 1-233. 


ligious denominations. A great impetus was given 
to southern colleges by the University of Virginia, 
suggesterl. fostered, and wisely organized by Thomas 
Jefferson, who lived to see its buildings opened, 
almost under the shadow of his seat at Monticello. 
In its spirit and in its work the University of Vir- 
ginia was in advance of any other American college 
of the time ; it placed an intellectual stamp on the 
whole south, set an example to the country, and be- 
came the mother of a lively brood of young colleges. 

In the period from 1815 to 1840 a score or more 
of young American scholars fotmd their way to 
Gdttingen or Tfibingen or Heidelberg, and imbibed 
the German tradition of investigation in search of 
ultimate truth. Colleges spread rapidly into the 
west, where, in 1826, Western Reserve University 
was founded at Hudson, Ohio, as a western Yale; 
and in the course of the two decades 1830 to 1850 
Michigan and some other of the western states laid 
the foundations of a new type of state imiversity. 

The number of southern colleges in this period is 
ftrildng. In 1830 there were twenty-four; in i860 
they had increased to about seventy, scattered all 
through the south, including the Tennessee and 
Kentucky mountains. With the exception, how- 
ever, of the universities of Virginia and North Caro- 
lina and the College of South Carolina at Columbia, 
none of them had a national reputation, and few 
more than a hundred students;' and they lacked 

1 Dt Bovfs Rtview, X., 477. 


good business management, so that their land grants 
vanished and their invested funds dwindled. The 
main reason for the want of prosperity was the small 
ntmiber of students who could be drawn from the 
community and the competition between too many 
small colleges. There was complaint also of the 
dissipation in some collies. ^ The wealthy planters 
had a habit of sending their sons abroad,' or more 
commonly north, to be educated. Jefferson himself 
complained that "Harvard will still prime it over 
us with her twenty professors/' ' and objected to 
sending students to northern institutions where they 
would tmleam the lessons of their own community. 
During the decade 1 830-1 840 about ten per cent, of 
the students of Harvard and Colimibia came from 
the south; in 1841 twenty per cent, of the Yale 
students and half of the students of Princeton. 
Among the southerners thus educated were John C. 
Calhoun, of Yale, and Barnwell Rhett, of Harvard, 
both of them examples of the small effect of north- 
ern colleges in changing the point of view of south- 

The sixty-odd colleges, so-called, in the Union in 
1830 probably did not include more than four thou- 
sand students of real collegiate rank, out of a popu- 
lation of thirteen millions ; six times that population 

' Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 129. 
'Reprehended in De Bow* 5 Review, XXVIL, 265; Marshall, 
Home Education at the South. 

* Jefferson, Works (Washington cd.), VII.. 20a. 


now has nearly forty times the number of college 
students. Except in Latin, Greek, and a few math- 
ematical subjects, the colleges of that time were no 
further advanced than the best high schools and 
academies to-day; the students entered at fifteen 
or sixteen years of age, and Uved a life of their 
own, scandalizing neighbors by horse -play which 
was not then reported in the metropolitan newspa- 
pers. It was an era of remarkable college presidents 
— Eliphalet Nott, of Union; Mark Hopkins, of Will- 
iams; Francis Wayland, of Brown; Thomas Cooper, 
of South Carolina — ^vigorous men whose personality 
left an undying impression upon their students; but 
the teaching was perfunctory, the range of studies 
small, and few of the college professors highly 

Of professional and technical schools there is little 
to say at this time. West Point, founded in iSoa, 
was a good school of its kind, but still narrow and 
unprogressive. Medica schools sprang up in the 
principal cities where there was clinical material, 
two of the most prominent as parts of the tmiversi- 
ties of Pennsylvania and Harvard, but most of them 
were private institutions carried on for profit by 
the preceptors. Separate schools for the training 
of the clergy arose, notably the Congregational 
Andover Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian 
Theological School at Princeton. 

The truth, painful to an academic person, that a 
low state of popular education and a high condition 




of literature may walk hand-in-hand was made clear 
in the decade from 1830 to 1840; for it is the begin- 
ning of the golden age of American literature. Up 
to that time the aim of most American writers was 
not to please, but to convince. The favorite kind of 
literature was the public speech, for Americans loved 
oratory. Patrick Henry spoke his appeals; Tom 
Paine, James Otis, Sam Adams, and John Dickinson 
put them within the covers of their pamphlets. 
After the Revolution, men like John Randolph and 
Josiah Quincy, as a matter of cotu-se, approached 
their cotmtrymen through their speeches in Con- 
gress and out-of-doors. The year 1830 marks the 
climax of American oratory in the Webster-Hayne 
debate, in which the great New-Englander's splendid 
sentences and lofty principles placed him alongside 
Lord Chatham as one of the foremost users of the 
English tongue. 

Nobody knows how life is breathed into the 
nostrils of the writer who can express the spirit of 
his cotmtrymen and join in creating a national 
literature. Perhaps the great literary awakenii^ 
was due to the different parts of the cotmtry coming 
together so as to give the poet, the essayist, and the 
journalist a national constituency, just when Ameri- 
cans were beginning to feel the exuberant sense of 
being a power in the world. Pulpit eloquence took 
on a new form when William Ellery Channing, 
Father Taylor the sailors' preacher, and later Henry 
Ward Beecher, and their compeers aroused, charmed. 


and convinced. By the lyceum system renowned 
men were heard from town to town and from village 
to village; Edward Everett, with bis silver tongue, 
earned sixty-eight thousand dollars for the ptuchase 
of Mount Vernon; while John B. Gough made a 
reformed drunkard so winning that young men were 
almost tempted to experience the process. If a 
man had anything that interested the world, bis 
neighbors were eager to hear his eloqtience. Town- 
meetings and legislatures were schools of public 
spealdng, the most successful gradtiates of which 
went to Congress. The enthusiast foimd his audience 
in the convention of his particular cause ; the social 
reformer and the literary critic had a forum in the 
lyceimi. Women came forward as writers and even 
as platform speakers, among whom Harriet Beecher 
Stowe was the only one to achieve a world-wide 
literary reputation. 

The lyceiun and the convention trained people to 
; listen; the literary leaders taught them to think. 
Reward and recognition showed themselves in half 
s dozen different fields at once. The first American 
.' to win national reputation for a literary treatment 
■ of American subjects was Washington Irving, who 
had the triple gifts of hiunor, a spirit of investigation, 
and a lively historical style. The two founders of 
a new school of history were Jared Sparks, almost 
the first man to realize the necessity of collecting 
scattered and perishing materials for the nation's 
history, and George Bancroft, who deliberately set 


himself to the mighty task of writing the history of 
his country up to his own time. In 1834 appeared 
the first voltmies of that immense undertaking, tqxm 
which he was engaged for a considerable part of 
fifty years.* 

To Bancroft was presently added a group of writers 
of the same New England origin, and, like him, imbued 
with the desire of repeating Macaulay's success in 
J bringing history to the comprehension of the average 
reader and adorning it with graces of style : William 
H. Prescott began in 1837 to publish his series on the 
history of Spanish America and of Spain in the colo- 
nizing period ; later came John Lothrop Motley, who 
chose for his theme the romantic epoch of the Dutch 
revolution against Spain. A fourth writer, and the 
king of American historians, was Francis Parkman ; 
alone of them all he has carried his reputation 
through three generations, partly from the inextin- 
guishable interest of his topic — the relations of the 
French and English — ^but chiefly because of his de- 
lightful historical style, his sense of proportion, and 
his own vigorous and right-minded personality, 
which has infused his works. 

In jotunalism there was a like notable awakening. 
In 1830 no daily in America had a circulation of 
more than two thousand ; but a little later several 
one-cent papers were fotmded, among which the first 
success was the New York Sun; it became well 
known through the ''moon hoax," an elaborate de- 

* Hart, in InUmaHonal Monthly, II., 306. 


ception intended to advertise the newspaper. Then, 
in 183s, appeared the first issue of the New York 
Herald, which developed a novel system of collecting 
news of every kind — commercial, legal, and religious 
— and reported all meetii^s and occturences of the 
day. The Evening Post, under the editorship of 
William Cullen Bryant, appealed to high ideals, but 
Horace Greeley made the New York Tribune, found- 
ed in 1841, the first great metropolitan exponent 
of moral ideas. Quarrelsome, impertinent, and one- 
sided as these newspapers were, they nevertheless all 
had editorial pages written with spirit and often with 
genuine literary force, and they vastly increased the 
reading public. 

The "moon hoax" was but a crude form of the 
modem short story and responded to a public in- 
terest in the novel, which furnished a field for the 
greatest names in American fiction, especially for 
Cooper, Poe, and Hawthorne. Cooper began to pub- 
lish his historical novels in 1821, and issued in all 
about seventy books. He was the first American to 
see the element of romance in the Revolution, and 
still more in the savage ; and immediately caused his 
idealized Indian to be accepted by the world as a 
true picture. Not a finished writer, he somehow 
carries the reader along, and imhappy is the boy 
who has never stayed away from Sunday-school to 
read The Last of the Mohicans, W. G. Simras, of 
South Carolina, was the only prohfic southern novel- 
ist. Edgar Allan Poe began his literary career with 


a little volume of poems in 1827, and for some years 
he edited the Southern Literary Messenger in Rich- 
mond.* His verses gave him a large reputation, but 
he lives as one of the world's writers through his 
tales — eerie, fanciful, ghastly, and a necessary part 
of every reading man's experience. 

Greater than any other of these writers was Na- 
thaniel Hawthorne, whose Twice-told Tales came 
out in 1837, but whose first powerful novel, The 
Scarlet Letter, was issued thirteen years later. Of all 
American writers, Hawthorne is the most unaccount- 
able, for he revealed neither the Puritan rigor of his 
ancestors nor the bustling mercantile and seafaring 
atmosphere of his home town of Salem. A mediaeval- 
ist in his outlook on life, an Italian in his delicate 
choice of words, a Frenchman in the finish of his 
sentences, an Englishman in his traditions and 
standards, he remains through it all the greatest 
American imaginative writer. 

It is easier to account for the American novel of 
the thirties than for the American verse. Colonial 
and Revolutionary poets were vague reflections of 
English writers, and could not write of Coltmibus 
and "Old Put" except in the style of Alexander 
Pope. Where did William CuUen Bryant find his 
model when, in the year when Sydney Smith asked, 
"Who reads an American book?" he bxu^t forth 

' Cf . Miner, Southern Literary Messenger, an account of the 


" Whither, midst falling dew, 
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, 
Par through their rosy depths dost thou pursue 
Thy solitary way?*** 

And why, in the six years from 1831 to 1837, should 
Whittier, Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes 
have made their first essays as poets? They not 
only wrote, they were read ; for in that youth of the 
world people watched for the new volume by the au- 
thor of " Evangeline ** or of the " Deacon's One-Hoss 
Shay." All the poets appealed to the highest in the\ 
hearts of their cotmtrymen, and they all had a hear- 1 
ing; most of them felt a moral responsibility for/ 
aiding in the regeneration of the world, and Whittierl 
was the poet of the anti-slavery cause, as Mrs. Stowe j 
was its novelist. 

Among these great stars there shone a brighter 
planet in Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and 
sage, whose oracles are to be read in his rugged yet 
fascinating poems and in his gem-studded essays. 
He shocked conservative New England with a new 
religious point of view, but he arotised his cotmtry- 
men with his appeal, " Hitch yoiu" wagon to a star " ; 
and he illustrated his own dicttim: " In the midst of 
abuses, in the heart of cities, in the aisles of false 
churches, alike in one place and in another, — ^wher- 
ever, namely, a just and heroic soul finds itself, there 
it will do what is next at hand, and by the new qual- 
ity of character it shall put forth, it shall abrogate 

* Bryant, Lines to a Waterfowl, 




that old condition, law, or school in which it stands, 
before the law of its own mind.*' * 

Americans have ever been readier to respond to 
the sober and severe than to the lighter vein; and 
no example of the humorist can be found in the 
eighteenth century except Benjamin Franklin. A 
new lamp of American literature was lighted when 
Washington Irving's Knickerbocker appeared in 1809 ; 
it is still one of the most delightful pieces of good- 
himiored satire that was ever written. In Jackson's 
administration a popular writer, Major Jack Dow- 
ning (really Charles A. Davis), was the first to bring 
out the ftm of politics. His professed intimate re- 
lations with **Gineral Jackson "amused even that 
tough old statesman. Then in the forties came the 
rise of James Russell Lowell in his Biglow Papers^ 
the first application of humor to anti-slavery. 

* Emerson, New England Reformers. 


(1830-18 50) 

UP to 1830 the main economic problem of the 
United States had been to develop its natural 
riches in the simplest and easiest way ; and such was 
the abimdance of soil, forest, and mineral wealth , that, 
in spite of wasteful methods of extraction, the coun- 
try was getting rich. At the same time it was grow- 
ing wider, through the rapid taking-up of the north- 
west and southwest; but these new communities 
were cut off from the ready access to the sea enjoyed 
by the older states, and found it difficult to reach a 
world market with their staples. Up to 1815 the 
only route from the interior to the seaboard, or from 
one point of the interior to another, was the highway 
or the stream. The introduction of steam naviga- 
tion on a large scale after the War of 1813, and the 
building of railroads after 1830, at once reduced the 
distance of the producer from his market, and within 
twenty years brought Chicago nearer to the seaboard 
than Utica had been in earlier times. This remark- 
able change revealed vast latent potentialities of 
wealth, and at the same time opened up competi- 


tions which altered business profits and possibilities 
throughout the country.* 

The change was the more startling because con- 
trary to the whole experience of mankind. Up to 
the success of Fulton's steamer in 1807, men, animals, 
and btirdens must use the trail, the wheel road, the 
natural waterway, or the short stretches of artificial 
canal then in operation. The United States lacked 
the Roman tradition of solid roads and bridges, and 
was behind most of the countries of western Europe 
in its means of transit; and the distribution of au- 
thority between localities, states, and federal gov- 
ernment caused confusion and wastefulness of ex- 

From colonial times the public highways were the 
care of the local government. Outside the cobble- 
stones of some of the city streets, there was in 1830 
hardly a mile of road, built and maintained by local 
authority, which was good after a heavy rain. The 
numerous turnpikes and plank roads were con- 
structed by private companies, often subsidized or 
aided by the local and state governments, and in a 
few instances by the United States. The federal 
government reserved its contributions chiefly for the 
Ctimberland Road,' an extension of which, from the 

* On the conditions of transportation and travel, see Babcock, 
Am. Nationality, chap, xv.; Turner. New West, chaps, xiii., xvii.; 
MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy, chap. viii. (.4m. Nation^ 
XIIL. XIV.. XV.). 

* Babcock, Am, Nationality, 247; Turner, New West, 224-228, 
287 (.4m. Nation, XIII., XIV.). 


Ohio to the Missouri River, was begun in 1825 ; dur- 
ing the next thirteen years a continuous stretch was 
built as far west as Springfield, Ohio. Indiana and 
lUinois demanded the construction of detached sec- 
tions of the main route; but Missouri and Illinois 
quarrelled as to which should benefit by the western 
terminus, so that no part of the road was ever com- 
pleted west of Vandalia, Illinois.' 

When Jackson came into power he found this 
road under way and signed numerous bills for its 
construction and repair; but he vetoed bills for 
other government highways and for aid to turnpike 
companies, and laid down the principle that the 
federal government should confine itself to road 
building in the territories.* In 1838 the forces which 
brought about the Ctimberland Road ceased to be 
effective. The federal government had already be- 
gun to turn over the jurisdiction of the road to the 
states, a process completed in 1856. Long before 
that time the comjietition of the railroads so de- 
stroyed the usefulness of the road that large parts 
of it fell out of repair.' The final balance - sheet 
showed that the " two per cent, ftmd " derived from 
the sale of public lands in the states of Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, and Missouri was $973,000, as against ex- 
penditures of $6,300,000 on the whole road, of 

• Young, Cumberland Road, 38—30. 

' MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy {Am. Nation, XV.), 137— 

* Young, Cumbtrland Road, chap, vii, ; Hulbert, Old National 


which over $1,100,000 was for repairs east of the 

The Cumberland Road raised troublesome ques- 
tions of the respective jurisdictions of the states and 
federal government, and a contest between eastern 
states which had no wish to lose part of the popula- 
tion, and western commimities which desired to make 
settlement easy. Similar rivalries appeared in the 
discussions on the improvement of natural water- 
ways which ran from state to state or were other- 
wise arteries of interstate commerce. The net-work 
of navigable rivers was in the west, but the east had 
a system of harbors which needed improvement, and 
in 1823 a harbor bill was for the first time made up.* 
Jackson vetoed several bills appropriating money 
for rivers and harbors on the groimd that the par- 
ticiilar improvements proposed were not national 
objects ; but he signed in his eight years appropria- 
tions for those purposes averaging more than a 
million a year, and left it to later presidents to put 
a more effective check upon this form of government 

Neither roads nor river improvements could solve 
the great problem of connecting east and west, 
which was a political and economic necessity; and 
the prosperity of New York due to the completion 
of the Erie Canal in 1825* put a powerful presstire 

" Turner. New West {Am. Nation, XIV.). 232. 

' Mason, Veto Power, J J 86-92. 

• Babcock. Am. Nationality {Am. Nation, XIII.), 249-251. 



upon other states to hold their export trade by 
reaching directly west across the mountains. Al- 
though canals so far north were subject to freezing 
and other interruptions, they were the cheapest 
method of freight transportation ever invented, and 
about as quick and convenient for travellers as the 
stage-coach. With the exception of a few stock 
subscriptions, especially for the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal near Washington, and the eventual con- 
struction of canals around the falls of several rivers, 
the United States has never spent money for internal 
canals; but from 1827 to 1830 it granted lands in aid 
of canals to the amount of i ,650,000 acres, and sub- 
sequently of about as much more.* 

These gifts were made to states, intended to aid 
them in the tremendous task which they had under- 
taken of furnishing a net-work of canals, including 
four trtmk lines across the mountains; and from 
1830 to 1840 almost one hundred million dollars went 
into this new form of investment. In New England 
the few canals were constructed by private corpora- 
tions, but the face of the country was not adapted 
to canal navigation, and they were all eventually 
abandoned. Besides paying for the Erie Canal, New 
York spent forty million dollars on lines reaching 
to Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, and up into the 
central valleys of the state.* In order to get the 

' Hart, Practical Essays, 256. 

•New York Comptroller, Annual Report, 1895; Fairlie, in 
Quart. Jour. Econ., XIV., 212-239. 


eoal out of the motintains of northeastern Pennsyl- 
vania several private canals were built to the Hud- 
son and the Delaware, and eventually to tide-water 
near New York. A great system, six hundred and 
forty miles of canal, was constructed by Pennsyl- 
vania at an expense of forty million dollars. 

South of Mason and Dixon's line two promising 
canal schemes were developed. The states of Mary- 
land and Virginia united in the construction of the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, from Washington to 
Cumberland, at a cost of eleven million dollars, a 
part of which came from stock subscriptions made 
by Congress, by the states of Virginia and Maryland, 
and the cities of Washington and Georgetown.* 
From Richmond a canal was projected to nm up the 
valley of the James and to cross over to the Kanawha, 
but it was never finished beyond Buchanan. Far- 
ther south the rivers were navigable some distance 
up from the coast, and the only improvement of 
significance was the Dismal Swamp Canal, from the 
estuary of the James to Albemarle Sound, completed 
in 1794 and reopened in 1828. 

The western region, south of the Ohio River, was 
well furnished with navigable streams, especially the 
Cumberland, Tennessee, and Alabama rivers; but 
the low divide between the Ohio River and the Great 
Lakes suggested a system of canals to connect, 
through Lake Erie, with the western outlet of the 
Erie Canal. Such a net- work was undertaken : Penn- 

* Turner, New West {Am. Nation, XIV.), 289-291. 



sylvania built a line from Erie to Beaver on the Ohio ; 
Ohio constructed lines from Cleveland to Portsmouth 
on the Ohio ; and Indiana, from Toledo through Fort 
Wayne to the Ohio River at Evansville. A great 
sjrstem was planned by Illinois, of which the only 
completed stretch was from Chicago to the Illinois 

The states in their canal building called for such 
enormous sums that the capital was not to be had 
in the United States, and for the first time they 
discovered that they had credit abroad; but the 
crash of 1837 checked the era of canal building. 
Many of the enterprises then uncompleted were 
never resumed, and of the entire net-work of forty- 
four hundred and sixty-eight miles, most of which 
was constructed between 1830 and 1840, only twen- 
ty-five hundred miles were in service in 1880. 
Nevertheless, they more than paid for themselves in 
the reduction of the cost of transportation while 
they were in operation, and they prepared the pub- 
lic mind for larger schemes of transportation.* 

The main reason for the disuse of the canals was 
not that they failed to give better service than older 
methods, but that they were superseded by the rail- 
roads. The railroad was nothing less than an eco- 
nomic revolution, for it shrinks distance, defies frosts, 
ignores quantities and numbers, and makes next- 
door neighbors out of people separated by thousands 
of miles. Long used as simple tramways in English 

* Callender, in Quart, Jour, Econ,, XVII., 111-162. 


coal-mines, the sjrstem was so little known in Amer- 
ica that in 1808 the engineer Latrobe was careful to 
explain that ''a railroad consists of two pair of 
parallel ways, . . . single roads, with occasional 'pass- 
ing places, are applicable to some situations"; and 
he estimated the cost of double track at ten thousand 
dollars per mile.* The early railroad was only a 
superior kind of plank road, provided with iron 
strap-rails. All cars were drawn by horses, and no 
spec^ greater than five or six miles an hour could 
be obtained. 

The year 1826 saw the beginning of the Liver- 
pool & Manchester, the first important English 
railroad, and also the construction of several short 
lines of horse railroad in America, interspersed with 
inclines over which cars were drawn by stationary 
engines, to connect the mines with canals leading 
down the Schuykill and Lehigh valleys and to the 
Hudson River. The next year, 1827, saw the in- 
ception of a railroad from Boston to the Hudson 
River, and another from Baltimore to the Ohio 
River, while roads were projected from Albany to 
Schenectady; from Boston to Providence; from 
New York up the Hudson; from Philadelphia in 
various radiating directions ; from Charleston to the 
Savannah River; and from Amboy, on New York 
Harbor, to Camden, opposite Philadelphia. The suc- 
cess of Stephenson's ** Rocket " in 1829 led to exper- 
iment, in steam traction; and in 1830 a locomotive 

' Am. State Paps., Misc., I., 916. 


built by Peter Cooper made a successful trial on the 
Baltimore & Ohio Road. The system of steam rail- 
roads was fairly inaugurated.* 

Though only twenty-three miles of railroad were 
in operation up to 1830, during the next decade 
came a period of lively construction. Spur -lines 
were built inward from most of the considerable 
Atlantic seaports. A line was completed from 
Albany westward to Auburn; another from Phila- 
delphia via Reading to the coal-fields; a line from 
Charleston a himdred and thirty-seven miles north- 
west to Augusta, then the longest railroad under one 
management in the world ; a continuous line, except 
for numerous ferries and short links of boat travel, 
from New York southward to Wilmington, North 
Carolina.* In 1835 ^ route was opened through 
Pennsylvania of combined railway and canal, with 
the Portage Railroad — ^a system of inclines— over 
the mountains, constituting a continuous route from 
tide-water to the Ohio at Pittsburg. 

The relation of the railroads and their owners to 
the public has had a profoimd influence upon Amer- [ 
ican theories of government and upon the division 
of federal and state powers. The original notion 
in America was that all highways and navigable 
waterways were imder public jurisdiction ; but the 

^McMaster, United States, V., 143-145; Reizcnstein, Balii- 
more & Ohio Railroad; Johnson, Am. Railway Transportation, 
16-23; Ringwalt, Transportation System, 70-73. 

• Maps in Coman, Industrial History, 206, 234; Johnson, Am, 
Railway Transportation, 17, 19. 



turnpike companies, from their b^innings in 1790, 
in many cases received by charter the right to ex- 
ercise the state's sovereign power of eminent do- 
main, so as to sectire the necessary continuous strip 
of land ; or they were allowed to occupy public high- 
ways and to charge toll for their use. The earlier 
canals were nearly all built by private companies 
which had similar authority; and the only public 
interstate highways were the imimproved roads and 
watercourses, and the state canals, which were very 
like high-roads in that anybody coiild put on his 
boats and start his horse motive power along the 
tow-path. At first nobody saw that the railroads 
were going to be something different from any 
previous experience ; they seemed to be a new kind 
of turnpike road running across, or even along, pub- 
lic thoroughfares at grade. It was expected that 
people would put on their own cars and horses, ex- 
actly as in the case of the canals. There was lit- 
tle regulation of a thing which almost everybody 

= Many of the states were too deeply committed to 
large^outgoes for canals to allow them to think of 
railroad building : but Michigan set out to construct 
two public lines across the state, and from 1837 till 
1846, when the roads were sold, was a railroad pro- 
prietor. Georgia, in 1836, began the construction of 
a line from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee, which 
is still the property of the state, though long since 
i^ased ; and Pennsylvania owned two short stretches 



of road as a part of her through trunk line. Illinois 
built a little section of state road near Springfield; 
and Indiana, from 1839 to 1843, owned and operated 
about twenty miles of railroad from Madison north- 
ward.* North Carolina subscribed a majority of the 
stock in what is now the main stem of the Southern 
Railway. These were the only states to own rail- 
roads up to 186 1 ; but many states appropriated large 
amounts of public money to railroads, sometimes by 
subscribing for stock (usually with state member- 
ship on the board of directors), sometimes by loans 
of money or credit, sometimes by outright gifts. 
Massachusetts, in 1836, made the first of a series of 
loans of this kind, amoimting in all to $6,044,000. 
New York, in 1836, voted three million dollars to the 
Erie Railroad, which became an absolute gift, and 
in the next six years a million and a half to other 
roads. The total state subscriptions previous to 
1840 could hardly have been less than ten million 
dollars. Towns, cities, villages, and coimties added 
stock subscriptions, cash grants, and gifts of right 
of way and station ground. The 2795 miles built 
in the decade probably cost seventy or eighty million 
dollars, of which all of one-fourth came out of the 
public treasuries. In the panic of 1837 some of the 
companies failed, and many of the original stock 
subscriptions were entirely sunk. 

As soon as the railroads began to operate with 
steam-power it became impossible to allow shippers 

* Smith, Indiana, 649. 


to put on their own motive power, and this totally 
transformed the whole business of the raibt)ads and 
their relation to the state. The people who owned 
the road-bed mtist also own the cars and the loco- 
motives, and this was an anomaly in the highway 
law of A erica. The common law of conmion car- 
riers was applied to them so far as it would reach, 
and a, body of special statute law also came into 
being, y Nevertheless, till 1850 the railroads were 
still treated as an improved kind of turnpike: they 
were built for the most part in short lengths, passen- 
gers changing cars every few miles ; they were neigh- 
borhood affairs, the stock owned by people along 
the line of the road, who kept an eye upon its man- 
agement. Their rates were lower than any other 
kind of land transportation, and the state statutes, 
after giving them corporate life, meddled little with 
their rates, management, or operation. 

In all sections of the country the railroads were 
crude enough according to modem standards — small, 
dark, and dirty stations, badly ballasted lines, light 
rails, numerous trestle and timber structures, small 
engines, little power. Lack of safety appliances, 
weak and fragile cars, heated by cast-iron stoves, 
and operation without telegraphic supervision, made 
accidents almost as numerous in proportion to the 
miles of railroad as they are in the twentieth century. 
The era of iron bridges had not arrived, and such 
rivers as the Thames in Connecticut, the Hudson, 
the Susquehanna, and many smaller streams, broke 


the continuity of the roads and enhanced the expense 
of doing business. 

In the south, raikoad building began as early and 
was pushed almost as vigorously as in the north, for 
it was easy to see that the saving of the freight on 
the cotton coming down to the coast would very 
soon pay for the railroads. Hence, besides the line 
from Charleston, roads were early constructed from 
Savannah to the interior of Georgia, and from Wil- 
mington to Richmond, and some spur-lines leading 
to the navigable rivers. But the great part of the 
cotton was grown within reach of navigable streams. 
With a scanty population and few manufactures the 
south could not support many railroads, and in 1840 
had only six hundred and thirty-six miles out of 
twenty-eight htmdred in the Union.* For passenger 
travel the southern railroads saw less improvement 
than the northern, but by 1861 continuous lines ex- 
isted from Washington to Charleston, Savannah, 
Memphis, Mobile, and New Orleans. 

For communication with other parts of the Union 
the south depended chiefly on steamers. This 
was the heyday of the Mississippi and Ohio River 
packets — huge, comfortable, luxurious, and subject 
to many dangers of fire, collision, sinking, and explo- 
sion, so that in 1838 the United States government 
enacted a law for inspecting and licensing steam- 
craft. On the Great Lakes the steamer lines be- 
came the most convenient means of transportation, 

* Poor's Manual, 1869-18 70, p. xxvi. 

VOL. XTI. — 4 


till continuous rail lines reached Chicago in 1853. 
On the Atlantic coast, steamers were introduced on 
Long Island Sound in 181 6, and coastwise lines made 
travel easy and delightful between the middle-state 
and southern ports. The ship Savannah, with aux- 
iliary steam-power, crossed the ocean in 181 9, but 
not till 1838 did the Sirius and the Great Western 
prove that the Atlantic could be traversed by steam- 
power alone. In 1840 the Cunard line, from Boston 
to Liverpool, began the first regular steam sailings. 
Similar lines were established from New York to 
Liverpool and Bremen, and from Baltimore to Ger- 
man ports ; but till the period of the Civil War most 
of the ocean freight and the immense immigrant 
travel were still carried by the fast and graceful 
American clipper sailing-ships. 

Off the main lines of railroad, coast, and rivers, 
the passenger was dependent, as he had been for 
two centuries, upon the local highways. All parts 
of the Union were hampered in their development 
by the poor wagon-roads, somewhat relieved by the 
turnpikes of the New England, middle states, and 
middle western states, including parts of Kentucky; 
but south of Washington there were very few good 
roads. The travellers of the time aboimd in mov- 
ing tales and remonstrances against both the far 
western and the southern roads; the latter, how- 
ever, were in old communities which could afford to 
make better provision. Several travellers noticed 
that when a tree fell across the road it was often 


allowed to lie indefinitely, passers-by making a 
deviation through the brush/ and stage travel was 
intolerably tedious and interrupted by accidents. 
Dickens makes a lively chapter out of his adventures 
between Washington and Richmond in 1842.* 

Foreign travellers in general were not pleasantly 
impressed by American hotels, although one distin- 
guished nobleman could not forbear praising an inn 
at Utica and its well-spread table, except that " nap- 
kins you do not get, and instead, you are obliged 
to make use of the table-cloth/* ■ In the south, 
with its few cities and its small travel, hotels came 
in for plenty of frank criticism. Even the southern 
pleasure resorts seemed to the outsider extremely 
crude, the hotels dirty, ill-managed, overcrowded, 
the guests lodged in crazy cabins, and the table beset 
with "quick feeders." ^ 

Knowing how little could be found on the road, 
the planter removing with his slaves carried pro- 
visions with him and camped.' But the ordinary 
traveller could often find no other shelter than a 

' Saxe- Weimar, Travels, II., 23. 

'Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 60, 87, 309-314, 320-331, 
357-366, 380-382; Murray, Letters, 225; Featherstonhaugh, Ex^ 
cursum, chap, x.; Qtiincy, Figures of the Past, 188-208; Dickens, 
American Notes (ed. of 1842), 3-15; cf. Hart, Contemporaries, 
III., §§ 165-168. • Saxe- Weimar, Travels, I., 65. 

* Featherstonhaugh , Excursion ,22-28; Stuart , North A merica , 
II., 83-85; Latrobe, Rambles, II., 18; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave 
States, 74, 305, 309, 332-337. 624, 643. 

• Smedes, Memorials of « Southern Planter, 49, 1 1 1 ; Feather- 
stonhaugh, Excursion, 53, 120, 154. 




house, and the poor whites had too little for them- 
selves to undertake the business of receiving travel- 
lers. Southern hospitality was the boast and the 
virtue of a people who had rude plenty and were 
glad to see a new face, but it was a virtue which was 
intended to be practised upon those who came with 
proper letters of introduction or who showed that 
they were of the same class as their hosts.* In view 
of this universal belief in generous hospitality, it 
was a shock to some travellers to find that at almost 
any house which would entertain them at all a pay- 
ment was expected, often out of proportion to the 

* Lyell, Second Visit, I., 245; Paulding, Letters from the South, 
II., 92-97; Bremer, Homes of the New World, I., 232; Olmsted, 
Seaboard Slave States, 7 7-79 ; H all , Travels, 4 1 2-4 1 5 . 

' Hodgson, Letters from North America, I., 266-268; Bucking- 
ham, Slave States, II., 147-150; Olmsted, Back Country, 31, 42- 
44, 174-176, 396, 411. 



THAT slavery should exist in the tfnited States 
was an anomaly, for the law of England when 
the colonies were planted recognized neither chattd" 
slavery nor villeinage. Yet forced labor was not 
unknown in England: the apprentice must serve 
his seven years, and take such floggings as his mas- 
ter saw fit; the hired servant must carry out his 
contract for his term of service; the convicts, often 
including political offenders, were slaves of the state 
and sometimes sold to private owners over-seas. The 
colonists claimed these rights over some of their 
white fellows, and, in addition, had a large cl£iss of 
"redemptioners," who agreed that their services 
should be sold for a brief term of years to pay their 
passage-money, and of "indented" or "indentured" 
servants brought by their masters under legal obli- 
gation to serve for a term of years and subject to 
the same penalties of branding, whipping, and muti- 
lation as negro slaves.' These forms of servitude, 

' Butler, in Am. Hist Rev.. II„ la-ja; Hart, Contemporaries 
II., 1 107; "Diaryof JolmHarrower."ini4m. J/m(. i?«'.,VI., 65- 



however, were limited in duration, and transmitted 
no claim to the servant's children. The presump- 
tion of law was always that a white person was 

No new commtinity in the midst of virgin soil 
ever had labor enough to satisfy it, and the English 
settlers at once began to enslave their Indian neigh- 
bors, soothing their consciences with the argument 
that it was right to make slaves of pagans. Fierce, 
intractable, unaccustomed to continuous labor, the 
Indians fled or died in captivity, leaving few of their 
descendants in bondage. Rather by way of experi- 
ment than with any confidence in their useftdness, 
in 1 61 9 the Virginians began to import African 
negroes, first from the West Indies; later by a 
steady direct trade from Africa.* For a century 
the trade was small: in 1700 there were not more 
than twenty or twenty-five thousand negro slaves 
in all the colonies, which was perhaps a twelfth of 
the total population; with little sacrifice or dis- 
turbance it was still possible to stop the traffic and 
to free the inchoate nation from a terrible race and 
labor problem. 

People in these latter days have tried to prove 
that our ancestors made some effort to check slavery, 
by calling attention to early prohibitive statutes of 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and to the founda- 
tion of Georgia as a free colony; but in Massachu- 

* Andrews, Colonial Self-Governntcnt, chap. x\nii.; Greene, 
Provincial America, chap. xiv. {Am. Nation, V., VI.). 


setts and Rhode Island these enactments were dead 
letters, for slaves were imported, sold, and their 
offspring bom in slavery; and the Georgians soon 
insisted on having slaves like their neighbors. Ef- 
forts were, however, made in several of the colonies 
to restrict the slave-trade, but rarely from htmiani- 
tarian objections; the colonial statutes were either 
intended to keep out a dangerous class or to secure 
some of the profits by laying a tax on the trade. 
Whatever the reasons, these acts were systemati- 
cally disallowed by the British government, and the 
trade went on unrestricted down to the Revolution. 
On the ordinary principle that the English statute 
law, in existence when the colonies were founded, 
applied to the colonists, slavery would have had no ^ 
legal standing anywhere in the empire; but in all 
the colonies local enactments recognized and pro- 
tected slave property, and criminal statutes estab- 
lished special offences which could be committed 
only by slaves,* and set up special tribunals for 
the summary trial of slaves. These slave codes, of 
which many parts lasted till 1865, bear witness to 
the ever-present danger of negro insurrection, of 
which there are about twenty -five recorded in- 
stances previous to the Revolution, the best known 
being the so-called New York Slave Plot of 1741, 
which resulted in the transportation of eighty ne- 
groes, the hanging of eighteen whites and negroes, 

' Morgan, Slavery in New York, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Papers, 

v., 337-346. 



and the judicial burning at the stake of thirteen 
more. Yet at this day it seems probable that the 
whole thing was simply one of those panics which 
sometimes sweeps over a whole conmiunity.* An- 
other group of colonial statutes related to fugitive 
slaves and white servants, many of whom made good 
their escape into other colonies and there founded 
free families.' 

The contradiction between the English and the 
colonial law was brought out in 1772 by the famous 
case of James Somerset, a negro brought by his 
master from Boston to England ; when that master 
attempted to take him back to America the negro 
sued for a writ of habeas corpus, which Lord Mans- 
field allowed on the groimd that "the state of 
slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of 
being introduced on any reasons, moral or political. 
It is so odious that nothing can be suffered to 
support it but positive law.'" In every one of the 
British colonies in America, however, slavery was 
legal by positive law when the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was adopted, and continued imless altered 
by the later state government. 

Although slavery thus became the presumptive 
status of every negro, most of the colonies by law, 
and all by practice, recognized the existence of free 

* Coffin, Slave Insurrections, 7-16; Horsmanden, Jotimal of 
Proceedings; Greene. Provincial America (Am. Nation, VI.), 240. 

* MacDougall, Fugitive Slaves, chap. i. 

* Hurd, Freedom and Boiidage, 1., 189-191. 




negroes, thot^h security had to be given that freed 
slaves should not become a public charge. The nu- 
merous instances of indented servants who, at the 
expiration of their service, became free members of 
the commimity seems to have had a favorable effect 
upon the status of free negroes, who were allowed X 
property rights, and in all the colonies except Geor- 
gia and South Carolina could vote, provided they 
had the required property or tax qualification. 

Though the legal status of slavery was as firmly 
established as inheritance of property or private 
ownership of land, objections to it on moral and 
ethical grounds were always plenty;* and during 
and after the Revolution it lost much of its prestige 
because it did not seem to pay. In New England, 
to hold slaves was a mark of dignity rather than 
of profit; in the middle colonies they never rose 
to more than a twelfth of the population; and in 
the south the staple crops of wheat, tobacco, indigo, 
and rice could not give them all profitable employ- 
ment. The rise of cotton planting and the effect 
on the industry of the south and on its attitude 
towards slavery has already been discussed in this 
series.* Its chief effect was to intensify the feelii 
that, whatever its ills, slavery was a fixed, unalterable, 
economic fact — an institution. It was this convic- 
tion, rather than the moral objections to slavei 

* See chap, xi., below. 

* Bassett, Federalist System, chap, xiii.; Turner, New West, 
chap. iv. (Am, Nation^ XL, XIV.). 

Luxactuiiiig ana mining region 
still remained almost wholly agric 
by the compromise tariff of 1833 
up its contention for permanent p 
erage rate of duties on dutiable 
forty per cent., and nearness to th 
the cotton manufacturers of New 
middle states a great advantage o 
ners, so that the cotton factories 
eight hundred in 1831 to twelve h 
and woollen mills increased in lik< 
tween 1820 and 1840 most of the cor 
powers an)nvhere near tide-water ^ 
the way from Maine to Pennsylvai 
nessed by the founding of Lowell ai 
ing of Nashua, Fall River, Manch 
and Cohoes. 

The iron industry also underwent 
Until 1838 charcoal and coke were 
for smelting; then anthracite coal 
and in 1846 bituminous coal, thus 
mense resources on the upper tri 



burst forth, machinery for working iron and wood 
began to be introduced on a large scale, and sewing 
machinery followed in the following decade.* This 
lively industrialism, repeated in a thousand hereto- 
fore unsuspected sources of profit, was almost con- 
fined to the northern states and to some parts of 
the border slave states: they had capital, they 
had a financial organization to utilize their greater 
density of population, and higher average wealth; 
they had a tariff and a home market; they devel- 
oped their mineral resources, while the immense 
coal-fields and valuable iron -ore deposits of the 
south, previous to the Civil War, were utilized only 
in Virginia and Tennessee. 

The rapid development of the north was no^ 
tuiique : it was what was then going on in Englancf; 
France, and Germany. The abnormal thing was 
that a region of great resources and intelligent y 
leaders like the south should have remained for half, 
a century outside the modem economic system, 
still retaining the provincial conditions of scattered 
population, little diversified agriculture, and slave 
labor; while the north had land, ships, mills, forges, 
mines, rich cities, and a remarkably productive 
population. Outside of the plantation buildings 
and moderate accimiulations of buildings and stocks 
of goods in a few cities, the south knew but two 
forms of wealth, land and slaves. This simple in- 

' Wright, Industrial Evolution , chaps, x., xi.; Coman, Indus* 
trial History t 226-228. 


dustrial system from 1830 to i860 changed very 
little, so that a description based on records drawn 
from any one of the three decades applies fairly to 
the whole period. 

The lands o£ the south may be classified into four 
areas, according to their productivity : the rich low- 
lands of the coasts and the river bottoms; the up- 
lands, including the "black belt," so called from 
the color of its soil; a more elevated part called 
barren lands or sand-hills; and the moimtains, em- 
bracing many fertile valleys and coves. None of 
these regions were closely settled. From colonial 
times on, large areas of rich land were constantly 
being worked out, and, since there was no fertilizer 

^ then in use, it must be replaced by breaking new 
soil on the same plantation or by giving up alto- 
gether and moving the slaves to more fertile regions. 
Tobacco was especially exhausting, and caused fear- 
ful destruction of land in Maryland and Virginia. 
Completely worn-out and abandoned plantations 
were not uncommon.* This system caused the large 
plantations to grow larger, so that several thousand 
acres under one hand was not thought remarkable. 
Some of the planters disliked their poorer white 

X neighbors, and made it a point to buy them out.' 
The imtilled or exhausted lands reduced the pro- 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 17, 43, 90, 106, 272, 413, 519; 
Olmsted, Back Country, 19; Olmsted, Texas Journey, 82; Long- 
street, Georgia Scenes, 76. 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 576; Smedes, Memorials of 
a Soutliern Planter, 63, 67. 


ductive capacity of the soil, so that the census of 
1850 showed an average value of land per acre in 
the south of $5.34 against $28.07 ^^ ^^e middle 

There was little scientific agriculture in the south, 
and little knowledge of the relation of soil to crops ; 
and the common rotation of com and cotton was 
deleterious.' A very general practice was to put 
in cotton in successive annual crops until the yield 
would no longer pay for the labor." Southern agri- 
culture, therefore, depended upon controlling more y 
land than could be tilled in a single year ; and when- ^ 
ever cotton was high and profits consequently large, 
the temptation was always to put this gain into 
more land and more slaves. Since intensive cultiva- 
tion of any kind was hardly known, the south ac- 
cepted as normal the disadvantages of a thinly 
distributed population, and looked southwestward 
for a region where there was virgin soil for new 

Depending for its exports chiefly on slave labor, 
the south^could raise only such staple crops as could 
be profitably cultivated by rude labor in large gangs. 
Tobacco, which had been the wealth of the south 
in colonial times, was still cultivated, especially in 
Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky. The work was 

* U. S. Census, 1850, Compendium, 170. 
' Hammond, Cotton Industry, 85-89. 

• Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 237; Patilding, Letters from 
the South, I., 81. 


less severe and less continuous than on cotton ; but 
the crop ceased to be very profitable, and nmny of 
the tobacco plantations ran down.* 

Rice was cultivated only pn islands or the adjacent 
main-land, which could be irrigated with abundant 
fresh water, yet be near the sea. The work was 
hard, the people were plagued with mosquitoes, and, 
which was the same thing, with deadly malaria, 
often fatal to both negroes and whites. It was hard 
to find the necessary combination of tide and river; 
the building and repairing of the ditches was ex- 
pensive ; and the work was hard and wet, culminat- 
ing w^th a watery harv'cst in the hot September.' 

Sugar required more capital than any other crop 
because of the expensive milling; but it was con- 
fined to a small area on a few plantations in Louis- 
iana. Of all slave labor the most exhausting was 
that of the grinding season, when eighteen hours 
was thought a day's work; yet it was a favorite 
time for the negroes, because they enjoyed the 
special privileges of coming together and of eating 
the cane and drinking the syrup.' 

The south raised quantities of com, which was 
the usual vegetable food of the poor whites, most 
of whom grew their own food crop. The plantations 
also raised more or less com for the food of the 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, SS-90; Olmsted, Back 
Country, 337. 

* Burke. Reminiscences, 127-12Q; Kemblc, Georgian Planta- 
tion, 17; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 430, 463-475. 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 650, 673, 686, 688. 


slaves, but immense quantities were imported from 
the western states, either in the form of shelled com 
and corn-meal, or in the products of corn-fed hogs, 
which supplemented the usual razor-back hams and 
bacon. The south, up to the Civil War, was not a/^ 
self-sustaining region; very few large farms or plan- 
tations raised the forage for their own work animals, 
relying upon the importations from the seaboard 
or down the Mississippi River.* 

It was idle for northern visitore or southern/^;^' 
critics to insist that the plantations ought to culti- 
vate a variety of crops, for the methods of agricult- 
ure were stereotyped;' slave labor did not adap^ 
itself to diversification, * and the steady world -de- 
mand for cotton made it the crop which could be 
most quickly and easily sold. Probably not one- 
tenth of the white people of^ the south were depen- 
dent for a livelihood on the raising of cotton; but 
fully three-fourths of the slave labor was applied 
to that crop, and it became in the minds of south- 
erners and northerners alike the typical southern 

One reason for this state of things was that cotton 
required attention during a considerable part of the 
year. From the seeding-time in March to the end 
of picking-time, when frost appears at the beginning 
of winter, there is always something to do; and 
thereafter it goes to the gin and thence to the press 
for baling. Furthermore, it is a crop adaptable to 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 378-380. 


the labor of girls and women and half -grown men, 
so that it employs a large proportion of the slave 
population. It was almost an axiom in slavery 
times that cotton could not be raised by white labor, 
partly because to admit the possibility was to lose 
one of the reasons for slavery; nevertheless, Olm- 
sted found in Texas numerous small cotton-fields, 
and foresaw a large cultivation by whites.* 

No wonder cotton seemed important to the south, 
/\ when the output and the price is reckoned. The 
simple statement that from 1791 to 1810 the pfice 
never fell below sixteen cents a potmd, and in 18 18 
rose as high as thirty-four cents, explains the rapid 
development of the southwest. From 182 1 to 1830 
the prices ruled lower, running down as low as eight 
cents; but the crops, which in the previous decade 
averaged about eight hundred and fifty thousand 
bales, from 1 831 to 1840 rose to one million three 
hundred thousand bales. The magnitude of the 
output did not depress prices, which averaged about 
twelve cents, and for the year 1835 ran up to over 
seventeen cents. The immense crop of 1840, at the 
lowest price for the decade, brought in about one 
hundred million dollars cash. The greater part of 
the cotton went over-seas, and it was this steady 
cotton export, creating a favorable credit balance 
abroad, which kept before the minds of the southern 
people the fact that in order to import the manu- 
factures of their own staple, or other goods suit- 

' Olmsted, Texas Journey, 182, 421. 

Ill— -n ir 


able for their needs, they had to pay a protective X 

Inasmuch as a large part of this cotton was raised 
on the larger plantations, where the expense of su- 
pervision and maintenance was reduced, the profit 
in good years was alluring. De Bow figured out some 
cases where there was seventeen per cent, profit on 
the capital engaged.* These figures, however, are 
subject to many deductions for waste, wear and 
tear, and other items. Twenty years later Olmsted 
f otmd the cotton plantations in the southwest mak- 
ing money furiously. \ Still, it is a moot question 
whether the south would not have f otmd a greater 
profit in other crops, to say nothing of the fact "V' 
that the cotton crop was the standing excuse for / \ 
slavery. Good observers believe that, on the whole, 
cotton cost more than it came to." It is a curi- 
ous fact that as early as 1826 a German traveller 
pointed out that in the cotton-seed the south was 
throwing away enormous resources.^ Profitable or 
unprofitable, the cotton fibre was interwoven with 
the heart of the south, so that Southside Adams was 
sure that the anti-slavery movement would fail be- 
cause of the " providence of God, the God of nature, 
and the God of nations, with respect to that great 

* Watldns, Cost of Cotton Production (U. S. Depart, of Agric, 
Miscellaneous Bulletins, No. 16); Watkins, Production aftd Price 
of Cotton for One Hundred Years (ibid., No. 9). 

' De Bow, Industrial Resources, I., 161-164; cf. Buckingham, 
Slave States, I., 257. » Olmsted, Back Country, 337-341. 

^ Saxe- Weimar, Travels, II., 33. 

TOL. XTI. — s 


staple of conunerce, our cotton." After thus setting 
the Almighty at work to prepare the cotton-fidd for 
the African slave/ no wonder the south believed 
and said that "Cotton is King." 

Southern agricultural methods were based on the 
fixity of crops. The tools used by slaves were heavy 
and rough, because none others would stand the 
carelessness of the slave.* Edmund Rufiin, of Vir- 
ginia, for years preached the advantage of using 
lime and manure in Virginia; and towards the end 
of the slavery period guano began to come in, under 
the influence of southern agricultviral societies;* but 
improvement of that kind was difficult to bring 
about in commtmities which lacked enterprise and 
spent their capital in buying new slaves. 

By the so-called "advance system," most planters 
mortgaged crop or negroes to keep the plantation 
going till the annual crop could be harvested.^ The 
factors through whose hands the crops must pass 
usually furnished the capital, but store-keepers also 
made small advances to neighboring farmers. In 
any case, interest and profit somehow had to be 
allowed to the lender, and all the circumstances 
were such as to encourage extravagance on the 
planter's part. It was a period of extended credit 
throughout the country, but nowhere else was so 
large a part of the annual income spent before it 

* Adams, Sotithsidc View, 143. 

' Olmsted, Seaboard Slai'e States, 397, 481-483. 

• Ibid., 278, 303. * Hammond, Cotton Industry, 107-iia. 

:r:- ■<-_«: :z^ 


was received.* {The ** advance system" also served 
to rivet upon tlie «Tuth its fixity of crops and eco- y^ 
nomic methods, for the planter must raise the cToy 
that would satisfy his obligations; there were few 
opportunities for capital except agriculture, and the 
most alluring agriculture was always the cultivation 
of cotton. 

Although the cotton crop was a new factor, the 
methods and principles of agriculture were much 
the same as those of colonial times. Maryland and 
Virginia still grew wheat by slave labor for export, 
because they lay close to tide- water, with easy ship- 
ment to a market. In the interior, away from great 
waterways, there was little demand for farm prod- 
ucts, and flour and provisions of every kind were 
astonishingly cheap, while household industries sup- 
plied a large part of the farming commtmity. New 
Hampshire and Ohio farmers made their own maple 
sugar, and the farmers' wives made soap, dipped 
candles, prepared the winter supply of sausage and 
mince-meat, and, with their daughters, dyed, wove, 
and made the family clothing ; so, in the south, many . . 
of the plantations were almost self-supporting. In ,\ 
some cases the plantation clothing was made wholly 
by the slaves. The poor whites, who had little for 
exchange, depended for their few comforts chiefly 
upon themselves. 

(rhe^uth was not wholly given up to agriculture ; . 
it had some small fisheries, and about a sixth of the 

* Buckingham, Slave States, I., 553-556. 


tonnage of the United States was registered from 
the south, but this included the river steamers.* 
Outside of Maryland there was very little ship- 
building on the southern coast, though the live-oaks 
and cypresses of the south furnished important 
materials for northern yards. Tar, pitch, and tur- 
pentine were a perennial product of North Carolina 
\ and adjacent states.' Coal and some other minerals 
were mined on a small scale in Maryland, Virginia, 
and Tennessee. 

Some manufacturing always went on in the south ; 
a large part of it in small factories of leather goods, 
clothing, and the like, supplying a local market; 
and there was an established manufacture of coarse 
cotton. The censuses of 1840 and i860 showed less 
than eight per cent, of the national output of cotton 
goods in the southern states ; the labor being in part 
poor whites, and in part hands brought down from 
the north.' 

The south had good economic training in its bank- 
ing, though it suffered for a time from the loose 
conditions of the frontier. The himdred and more 
southern banks, in 1840, had a capital of one hun- 
dred and twenty-six million dollars, and were organ- 

' De Bow, Industrial Resources, II., 195. 

• Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 338-348, 351-355. 

*Ibid., 13, 19,104,542-548; De Bow, Industrial Resources,!., 
232-243, XL, 107-121, 124-127; Bishop, American Manufactures, 
II., 420, 465 ; Coman, Industrial History, 249-254. Kettell, Souths 
em Wealth and Northern Progress, 54, figures out a sixth for the 




ized with a good system of country branches, fur- 
nishing credit not only to the large planter, but to 
almost any thrifty farmer. After 1850 several of 
the southern states adopted the "security system," 
by which the circulation was protected by approved 
bonds.* The state banks of South Carolina and 
Kentucky were also sotmd concerns. Here, how- 
ever, the business training of the south ended ; ex- 
cept for the handling of the cotton export, largely 
in the hands of foreign firms, there was little expe- 
rience in btisiness. 

Although experience proved that the slave-hold- 
ing south was politically a tmit on questions affecting 
the growth of slavery and the maintenance of the 
slave-holding power, it was sharply divided into v 
two sections having very different conditions and 
interests. The so-called border states — Delaware, 
Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri — ^were 
in soil, climate, and productions very like their im- 
mediate northern neighbors, considerable areas of 
which were peopled from the slave-holding states.' 
The great difference was that the number of slaves 
in the border states was much smaller than in the 
lower south. In 1830 the figures were : border states, 
whites, 1,703,948; slaves, 772,303; the remaining 
southern states, whites, 1, 953,660; slaves, 1,231,085. 
The free negroes were numerous, and slavery was ', 
not vital to any one of this populous group of states. 

* Schwab, in PoL Set. Quart., VII., 55. 

• Turner, New West (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. v. 




Delaware, and still more Maryland, were commer- 
cial, and had manufactures. When the crisis of 
the Civil War came, the line of cleavage left all of 
them except eastern Virginia still attached to the 
northern states, with which they had the closest ties 
of internal conmierce. Of the four largest southern 
cities, three were not dependent on the south for 
their wealth: Baltimore up to 1830 was built up by 
the Susquehanna trade, and later by connection with 
the Ohio River ; Louisville and St. Louis were points 
of distribution for northern products. The crops of 
the border states were substantially the same as 
/ those of their northern neighbors, and their adher- 
ence to slavery was not due to its profit, so much 
as to the social and political prestige of the slave- 

* See below, chap. xix. 




IN a region like the south, engaged in one main 
industry, and that the cultivation of a staple crop, 
with crude labor and appliances, a simple social 
organization might have been predicted. \0n the 
contrary, there was a remarkable complexity of ^. \ 
social units, including at least five different strata 
of the white race. At the top of the social pyramid 
stood the slave-holder, for in the slave he possessed 
the one tool which produced a surplus, and he also 
owned the large areas of land upon which that tool 
could be employed. This privileged class was small 
in proportion to the whole population. Out of 12,- 
500,000 persons in the slave-holding communities in 
i860, only about 384,000 persons, or one in thirty- 
three, was a slave-holder. These figures, often 
quoted in arguments against slavery, are somewhat 
deceptive. Since the property of a family was com- 
monly vested in a single person, the true proportion 
would be about 350,000 white families out of perhaps 
1,800,000; leaving out of account the white moun- 


taineers, a fourth to a fifth of the white families in 
the slave-holding sections had a property interest in 
slaves. A counter-correction must now be made: 
about 77,000 owners had only one slave apiece, and 
200,000 more owned less than ten slaves each ; while 
only 2300 families owned as many as a hundred 
slaves. Samuel Hairston, of Vii^ginia, the largest 
slave-owner of the time, had 1700 slaves and con- 
trol of 1000 more.* 

Out of 9,000,000 whites in i86o» certainly not more 
than 500,000 persons made a substantial profit out 
of slave-keeping; within that privileged ntmiber a 
body of about ten thousand families was the rul- 
ing south in economics, social and political life. 
The great names in southern public life, such as 
the Butlers, Bamwells, Hayneses, Brookses, Pinck- 
neys, Rutledges, and Hamptons, of South Carolina ; 
the Lees, Masons, Harrisons, Tylers, and Wises, of 
Virginia; the Polks, Breckinridges, and Claibomes, 
of the west, were borne by members of families 
holding from fifty slaves up. The Dra)rton man- 
sion, near Charleston, the fine old houses of Athens, 
Georgia, and such stately abodes as the Johnson- 
Iredell house at Edenton, still bear witness to a by- 
gone generous life and profuse hospitality which im- 
pressed the visitor with the wealth and breeding 
of the south.* Yet, outside of the southern cities 
and their neighborhood, large houses were few and 

• Chambers, Am. Slavery and Colour, 194. 

* Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter , 34. 


a stately life difficult to maintain.* The general 
tendency was to enlarge the large plantations by 
putting the profits of cotton, raised by slave labor, 
into more cotton lands requiring more slave hands ; 
and this process prevented an acctmiulation of 
wealth in buildings and estates. 

The well-to-do planters travelled widely and went 
to the cities in winter, and made the Virginia 
Springs,* Newport, and Saratoga, ports of summer 
entry. Many of the lowland plantations were un- 
healthy a good part of the year, and their owners 
formed a small but recognized class of absentee 
landlords. Even in these cases the owner felt a 
personal responsibility for the plantation and its 
inhabitants. Though masters sometimes hired out 
the whole body of their slaves, corporations very 
rarely owned slaves, and in the few cases recorded 
appear to have found the system unprofitable to 

(Thgse great planters, everywhere accepted as the '^-^ 
characteristic men of the south, were seconded by a 
far greater class of small, unprosperous, and unpro- 
gressive slave-holders. No writer saw so much of 
them as Olmsted, who gives us an tmpleasant ac- 
cotmt of their poor houses, tmwholesome food, and 
lack of comfort, thrift, and refinement. They lived 

* Martineau, Society in America, I., 216 et seq.; Page, The 
Negro, 168. 

'Martineau, Society in America, I., 175-193; Fcatherston- 
haugh, Excursion, chaps, ii.-v. 



in groups of btiildings still familiar to travellers in 
the south, a congeries of house, kitchen, servants' 
quarters, storehouses of various kinds, and stabling 
for the animals.^ It seems unaccountable that, in 
a cotmtry abounding with vegetables and capable 
of growing many kinds of grain, people who were 
able to control ten, twenty, or more laborers should 
have been satisfied with the hog and hominy and 
discomfort of the frontier. In some cases they were 
restrained by the feeling expressed by a planter in 
Florida : " My old woman and I could be much more 
comfortable if we were not hampered by fifteen 
negroes, . . . but it would be such a distress and 
ruin of the poor things if we rid ourselves of them." ' 
Such planters lived worse and had fewer opportimi- 
ties for their children than many a day-laborer in 
the north; though occasionally you found "a per- 
fectly charming little back woods farm house, good 
wife, supper and all." ' 

■ Among the owners of one or more slaves were the 
professional men. Since white house-servants were 
almost imknown, it was necessary either to hire 
from slave -owners or to buy one's o\\'n cook or 
coachman. A slave was not an uncommon present 
to young people setting up housekeeping; many 
ministers were slave-holders, and Bishop Polk, of 

•Olmsted, Back Country, 58-61; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave 
States, 329, 384-3S6, 559-563; Murray, Utters, 229. 
' Murray, Utters, 229. « 

' Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 393. 

I / 


Louisiana, owned about four hundred and was a 
notably good master. Clergy, lawyers, physicians, 
college professors, and the few scientific men were, 
for the most part, members of slave-holding fami- 
lies, and were completely identified with the great 
slave-holders in maintaining the institution. 

In some parts of the south, notably the border . 
stafesT existed a class of white farmers, working ^ 
their own land and accepted as equal members of 
the commtmity by the neighboring slave-holders; 
from such a family sprang Henry Clay. Some of 
them were the descendants of German settlers in the 
valley of Virginia ; * a few of them were northerners 
who had come across the border. Another class of 
whites who had little relation to slavery was a few 
laborers, mostly foreigners, found especially in the 
cities, though several travellers noticed Irish labor- 
ers working as deck-hands, or even in ditching 
operations.' In a few cities, notably New Orleans 
and St. Louis, there was a permanent foreign popu- 
lation furnishing mechanics and small shop-keepers, 
and a few thousand poor whites were attracted into 
the cotton-mills." 

The general attitude of the south was unfavorable 
to immigration, either from the north or from for- 
eign countries. The whole state of North Carolina, 
in i860, had but 3289 foreign-bom residents; and, 

* See Paulding, Letters from the South, I., 91, 107. 

• Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 550, 612 ; Russell, My Diary 
North and South, I., 395. » See chap, iv., above. 



outside of the border states of Missotiri and Mary- 
land, the only two commtinities having any con- 
siderable number of foreign residents were Louisi- 
ana, where there were Germans, Irish, and a few 
Italians ; and Texas, in which there was a vigorous 
and successful German colony.* In the southwest 
was a large population of French descent, and a 
still larger body of Mexicans in Texas. Chinese 
coolies were repeatedly suggested, but none appear 
to have been imported.' 

(Below the slave-holders were the poor whites, 
whcTwcrc subdi^ ided into several elements, of which 
the most distinct were the moimtain whites and the 
lowland whites. At the end of the eighteenth cen- 
tury some thousands of Scotch-Irish settlers estab- 
lished themselves in western Pennsylvania; thence 
the more adventurous pushed their way southwest- 
ward into the numerous parallel chains of the Ap- 
palachian mountain system, reinforced by direct 
contingents from western Virginia and North Caro- 
lina. As time went on the fertile valleys within the 
mountain ranges grew too scant for the population, 
and the rising generation was pushed back into the 
remoter valleys and coves of the mountains, cut off 
from the main currents of travel, living on com 
grown on the hill-sides, and hams and bacon made 
from the swine that ran half wild among the settle- 

* Olmsted, Texas Journey, passim. 

* Adams, Southsidc Vieii\ 142 ; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 



ments. These people deteriorated, and by 1830 
numbered more than a million, scattered through 
eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, western Virginia 
and the Carolinas, northern Georgia and Alabama. 

Among the moxmtain whites slavery was almost . 
unknown, and there was more prejudice against the ^ 
slave-holder than against the negroes. In Virginia 
and South Carolina the state constitution gave them 
fewer representatives in proportion to the white 
population than was given to the tide-water slave- 
holding coimties; elsewhere they voted on equal 
terms with the lowlanders, but never dreamed of 
controlling the state government. Contemporaries 
noticed their large families of flaxen-haired children, 
their rude and uncompromising manners, the illiter- 
acy of people of all ages, the coarse and ill-cooked 
food, and the log -houses, rude and dirty without 
and bare and comfortless within. A large propor- 
tion of the population lived in one-room houses 
without a glass window.* 

However little the mountain whites added to the 
wealth of the south, they were remote from the 
world's highways and little influenced directly by 
slavery. It was otherwise with the lowland whites, X 
who were chiefly descendants of low, poor, or vi- 
cious English colonists. In some states there were 
quite distinct groups living in a district by them- 
selves, as the Piney-woods people of Mississippi, the 

* Buckingham, Slave States, II., 153-167, 198-200; Olmsted, 
Back Country, 230-232; Berca Quarterly, IX., No. 3 and passim. 


Pine-landers and Crackers of Georgia, the Clay- 
eaters of South Carolina, and the Sand-hiUers of the 
Carolinas. * Land was everywhere cheap and plenty ; 
it was easy, too, to get the logs from which the few 
necessary buildings of a homestead could be erected. 
Like the mountain whites, they had some rugged 
virtues, such as personal honesty, a spirit of rude 
hospitality, and devotion to what they thought an 
ideal; but they lived on just as their fathers and 
grandfathers had lived, without any accumulation 
of property, without schools, without reading, with- 
out contact with the outer world. Some of them 
bought negroes, enlarged their plantations, and 
eventually rose to the class of prosperous slave- 
holders; the greater part of them were perfectly 
contented to live at a stand-still. Of the poor whites 
in 1850, five hundred and fourteen thousand were 
wholly illiterate. The only one of their own nimi- 
ber who tried to arouse them said : " A laige portion 
of our poor white people are wholly neglected, and 
are suffered to while away an existence in a state 
but one step in advance of the Indian of the forest." * 
Olmsted, who had been accustomed to observe white 
laborers, thought the poor white farmers in every 
way inferior in intelligence, as in physical condition, 
to the lowest class of northern white laborers. Nor 

'Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 413-416, 514; Kemble. 
Georgian Plantation, 75, 146; Buckingham. 5/01"^ States, I., 551; 
Bremer, Homes of tlie New World, I., 365-367; Burke. Rentinis- 
cences, 23-28; Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 113. 

' Helper, Impending Crisis, 377. 


did those of them who had the enterprise to leave 
their homes and push southwest into Arkansas and 
Texas show much improvement.* They had few 
chances, for, aside from the intermittent cultivation 
of their own farms, there was little occupation for 
the poor whites: some digging of ore, turpentine 
farming, htinting — ^these were their principal occu- 
pations; for, throughout the south, the poor whites 
could very seldom be induced to do field work for 
their neighbors on any terms. A southern observer 
said that "two bales of cotton a year is as much 
as is generally made by people who do not own ne- 
groes ; they are doing well if they net over fifty dol- 
lars a year for their labor, besides supplying them- 
selves with com.** ' 

Except for the rivalries between the moimtain 
and lowland ends of the states, the poor white seems 
hardly to have asked himself whether slavery was 
or was not a good thing for him, though occasionally 
a man would own that "slavery is a great cuss, 
though, I think, the greatest there is in these United 
States"; "the majority would be right glad if we 
could get rid of the niggers " ; and they all agreed that 
the negroes, if freed, must be removed from the coim- 
try.' In the thirty years before the Civil War, as the 
great plantations enlarged, many of the poor whites 

* Olmsted, Back Country, 123, 277, 327, 403, 415, 418; Olmsted, 
Texas Journey, 15, 277. 

' Olmsted, Back Country, 328. 

* Ibid., 203, 239, 259; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 572. 



thus pushed out simply settled again somewhere in 
the lowlands. A drift into the newer parts of the 
country brought a large number of poor whites 
across the Ohio River into southern Ohio, Indiana, 

A and Illinois, carrying with them a dislite of the 
negro and a laggard interest in education and 
progress. In this environment they improved, and 
there were great potentialities in a strain which 
could produce an Abraham Lincoln. 
'One of the perplexing things in htmian history is 
tnaTthese people, who owned no slaves, who received 
nothing of the profits of slave labor, and who were 

\ put out of the pale of slave-holding society, should 
have accepted with so little question the leadership 
of the slave-holders, and should have demanded so 
little for themselves and their children out of the 
surplus produced by slavery. Helper's burning ap- 
peal to the poor whites for "No co-operation with 
Slaveholders in Politics — No Fellowship with them 
in Religion — No Affiliation with them in Society " * 
— ^met with no response. The planters looked down 
upon their neighbors ; ' and even the slaves of a 
master of social distinction were likely to think 
themselves better than "Po' white trash." 

After the decay of the system of white indentured 
servants, it was a legal principle in every southern 
state that every white child was bom free, remained 
free, and could not by any possibility become a 

* Helper, Impending Crisis, 156. 

' Smedes, Memorials of a SouUtem Planter, 67. 


slave. There are, however, some curious instances 
of white persons detained for a long time on the 
groimd that they were of African blood. Thus in 
1843 a German named Salome Muller brought a suc- 
cessftd suit in Louisiana against persons who had 
kept her in slavery for twenty-five years.* On the 
other hand, persons outside the white race might 
legally hold negroes in bondage; the Indians were 
inveterate slave-holders' — indeed, the reception of 
negro nmaways by the Seminoles was the prime 
cause of the eight-year Seminole War.' 

Still stranger, a negro, if he acquired freedom 
either by manumission or by purchasing himself, 
could hold property, including slaves. Such a man 
was then likely to buy his own family, and, imless he 
went through a formal process of manumission, they 
thereby legally became his slaves; and there are 
cases on record where, at the death of such an owner, 
his children became liable for his debts. In such 
instances the legislature commonly came to the 
rescue."* A more common case was that of free 
negroes, mostly descendants of the favored children 
of Frenchmen or Spaniards in Louisiana and Texas, 
who had inherited property, including slaves. The 
anomaly struck one slave, who protested that " One 

"Jay, View, 69-73; Olmsted, Back Country, 90; Cable, 
Strange True Stories of La., 145-191. 

' Southern Literary Messenger , X XV III., 33 3-3 3 5 . 

• Giddings, Exiles of Florida, chap. vi. 

* Atlantic Monthly, LVII., 27 ; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 
ia6; Brackett, Negro in Maryland, 168. 

▼Ot. XVI.— 6 


nigger has no business to sarve another; it's bad 
enough to have to sarve a white man without being 
paid for it, without having to sarve a black man." 
Such owners had a bad reputation for cruelty to 
their own slaves.* 

Although in 1830 no person could be bom into 
slavery north of Mason and Dixon's line, slavery 
\ and the incidents of slavery continued to exist in 
most of the free states. In Maine, Vermont, New 
Hampshire, and Massachusetts no permanent slaves 
appear; in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, 
New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the census of 1830 
shows a total of about twenty-seven hundred slaves ; 
and in 1850 New Jersey still counted two hundred 
and thirty-sLx. All the northwestern states except 
Michigan contained a few slaves in 1840, in part old 
slaves held previous to 1787, in part persons who 
had come in previous to 1820 imder what were 
termed indentures with their masters.* 

* Olmsted, Texas Journey, 386. 397; Brackett, Negro in Mary- 
land, I go. 

' Wis. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1892. 82-86; Iowa Journal of 
History, October, 1904, p. 471; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln^ I., 



NOT so wide was the gulf between Lazarus and 
Dives as that which yawned between the whites 
of every class and the negroes; the one, however 
poor and powerless, was a member of the ruling 
element of society, with all the potentialities of free- 
men; the negro belonged to a servile race, and the "^^ 
best that even the free negro could hope was an 
inferior, imperfect, and unstable status. No legal 
distinctions were made between the quick negro and 
the stupid, the coal-black and the mulatto, the son 
of a planter and the son of a field-hand. 

Yet there were many varieties of character, of ca- 
pacity, and even of race among the negroes. Most 
of them were descended from the tribes of the west 
coast of Africa ; but members of many inferior 
tribes reached the coast. On the same plantation 
could be found Guinea negroes, very black and 
uncouth; brown or bronze races, almost European 
in feature; a few individuals of the "copper color" 
type ; and an occasional Arab. None of the African 
races persisted in America, their language almost en- 


tirely disappeared, and except "Buckra" hardly a 
word of any African dialect got a permanent lodg- 
ment in the langiiage of the masters. The only 
visible influence upon the spoken language was a 
shortening of vowels and economy of consonants, 
which outsiders observed also in the speech of the 
white people.* So far as speech and traditions of 
X African life were concerned, they passed away with 
the individuals who brought them. 

A strong influence to break up the n^ro race 
was its mixture with the whites. Some recent 
writers allege that this process did not begin on a 
large scale under slavery ; . the few available statis- 
tics, however, perfectly ag^ecr'with the statements 
of all candid observers, to the effect that the mulat- 
tocs were from the first very numerous. The cer- 
tainly incomplete census of i860 showed five hun- 
dred and eighteen thousand mixed bloods, which 
was about a seventh of the negro population; and 
the births were in about the same proportion. 
Under the principle of partus sequiiur ventrent, which 
was universal in North America, every child of a 
slave mother was bom the slave of her owner, with- 
out inquir)'- as to the father. Of course, many of 
the mulattoes were children of mulattoes, but they 
all went back to white ancestors. Far too many 
were children of overseers, especially on the lonely 
plantations of absentee landlords.' Others were the 

* Ep^gleston, Transit of Civilization, iii. 

' Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 140, 162. 199, 208-210. 

i86o] FREE NEGRO 8i 

children of their own masters.* An example is the 
case of Brazealle, a Mississippi planter, who from 
gratitude and affection to a mulatto woman who 
had nursed him through a dangerous illness took 
her to Ohio, educated her, emancipated her, and 
married her, and attempted by will to transfer his 
property to their son; but the Mississippi courts 
adjudged both mother and child to be slaves of a 
distant relative of the testator.' Frederick Doug- 
lass supposed himself to be the son of his master.' 
In Louisiana, and, indeed, throughout the south, it 
was not imusual for young men to keep negro mis- 
tresses, commonly of mixed blood."* The quadroon 
balls were visited by most travellers, and somewhat 
resembled the similar resorts of the Parisian gri- 
settes.* Some visitors predicted that the " future in- 
habitants of America will inevitably be mulattoes.'* • 
So notorious were these relations that even semi- 
official defenders of slavery found it hard to square 
them with the prevailing notions as to morality, 
and one of them winds up an attempt to explain 
the thing away by saying that " a people whose men 

* Child, Anti-Slavery Catechism, 17. 

' Hinds vs. Brazealle, 2 Howard Miss. Reports, 837. 
' Douglass, Narrative, 2; cf. Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 227- 
229; Stuart, North America, II., 64; Rhodes, United States, I., 


* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 595-600; cf. Rhodes, United 
States, I., 339-341. 

• Featherstonhaugh,£jcci*r5ton, 141 ; Buckingham, 5/ai^5to^5, 
I., 358; Saxe- Weimar, Travels, II., 61. 

• Abdy, Journal, I., 353; Lyell, Second Visit, I., 221. 


are proverbially brave, intellectual and hospitable, 
and whose women are unaffectedly chaste, devoted 
to domestic life and happy in it, can neither be 
degraded nor demoralized, whatever their institu* 
tions may be." * 

The result of these relations was a considerable 
body of slaves who mad£ the color line seem al- 
most imperceptible. The number of such very light 
slaves may be guessed from the numerous advertise- 
ments for negroes with blue eyes, fair skin, or nearly 
white. When a negro had reached the point where 
white people were easily deceived into thinking him 
one of themselves,^ one of the greatest hardships of 
slavery became apparent ; for not only could a per- 
son three-fourths or even thirty-one thirty-seconds 
white be legally held as a slave, but if set free he 
was only a free negro. 

The disabilities of free negroes were serious, and 
their effect extended far beyond the boundaries of 
the slave-holding states. In 1830 there were 137,781 
free negroes in the north, the greater ntunber of 
them in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. 
In legal status the free negro had lost ground since 
the Revolution, as was shown by the limitations 
upon his suffrage. Besides Georgia and South Caro- 
lina, which continued the distinction made in colo- 
nial times, between 1792 and 1834 the four border 
states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Ken- 

* Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument , 120. 
' Lyell, Second Visit, I., 221. 

x86ol FREE NEGRO 83 

tucky absolutely forbade suffrage to negroes ; and ev- 
ery other slave state admitted by Congress came into 
the Union with a constitution prohibiting negroes 
from voting. In the remaining slave state, North 
Carolina, every freeman who paid a public tax was 
entitled to vote, and it was notorious that negroes 
could and did take part in elections,* till, in 1835, a 
new constitution excluded them from the suffrage. 
Such action had a ground in states where the negro 
vote might conceivably affect slavery ; but it was re- 
peated in several northern commimities where there 
was no such excuse. New Jersey in 1807, Connecti- 
cut in 1 81 4, and Pennsylvania in 1838 took away the 'X^ 
suffrage from negroes ; and New York in 1 82 1 required 
from them an unusually high property qualification. 
These exclusions branded the negroes as of a dif- 
ferent caste, even in the north, and it was backed 
up by other imfriendly legislation. Ohio began in 
1803 to build up a black code, proceeding to a de- 
mand for a bond of five himdred dollars for negroes . 
who might come into the state, and denying to the 
negro the right of testimony in cases in which a 
white man was a party, or admission to the public 
schools. Similar provisions were enacted by In- 
diana, Illinois, and Iowa when they came into the 
Union; Illinois even prohibited the coming of ne- 
groes into the state on any terms.' 

* Livermore, Historical Research , 11. 

' Hurd, Law of Freedom and Bondage; McKinley, Suffrage in 
the Colonies; Hart, in Am. Polit. Sci. Assoc., Proceedings, 1905. 


The negroes, thus placed upon an inferior political 
and legal stand-point, were further subject to an un- 
yielding social prejudice. In 1830 the Park Street 
Church in Boston excluded from its house a colored 
family which had legal title to a pew;' the annual 
day when the Massachusetts state govertunsit was 
organized was called "nigger lection," as being a 
public occasion when negroes weiB allowed to ap- 
pear on Boston Common; when the Boston & 
Providence Railroad was first opened, a special 
compartment was set apart for negroes,* White 
men frequently refused to work with n^;roes on the 
same jobs.* Nevertheless, throughout the north, 
and especially in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, 
and Cincinnati, there were many thriving, respect- 
able, and well-educated negroes who keenly felt the 
humiliation of their condition. 

The negro in the north was at least free to move 
about and engage in such employment as he could 
find, free to bring up his family without forcible 
separation. Not so with his brother in the south, 
to whom manumission brought not freedom, but a 
half-way status having many of the sorroi,vful inci- 
dents of slavery. In many directions the free negro 
was steadily losing ground. As late as 1814, General 
Jackson, by a formal proclamation, promised " to 
every noble hearted generotis freeman of color 

' May, Rfcollfctions. 169; Garrisons, Garrison, I., 153. 
'Quincy, Figures of the Past, 341. 
*hhAy.7iJnrnal,\.. 358. 

r86o) FREE NEGRO 85 

volunteering to serve during the present contest " 
the same bounty, "monthly pay, and daily rations 
and clothes furnished to any American soldier." * 
But soon after 1830 he was excluded from the op- 
porttmity to serve in the state militia, and in some - 
states from fire companies and similar organizations, 
though negro musical bands were common. 
( ^Ther e seems Uttle doubt that in most of the 
southern colonies free negroes were considered citi- Y 
zens.' But Judge Daggett, of Connecticut, in 1833 ^ 
held that the free negro was a person and not a 
citizen.* The laws of the United States expressed 
a doubt on the subject, by recognizing no right of 
any other than a free white person to acquire citi- 
zenship by naturalization. The free negro was 
clearly not a full citizen in the eyes of the negro 
codes of the slave-holding states, which in wearisome 
detail distinguished between whites and free negroes, 
while frequently placing the free negro with the 
negro slaves. A few examples will show the char- 
acter of these codes. In four states free negroes \ 
must have official guardians; in eight states they 
must be registered; in general, the testimony of 
negroes was not accepted against white men. They 
were forbidden in some places to sell drugs ; in others, 
to sell wheat and tobacco ; in others, to peddle mar- 
ket produce or to own a boat; in several states, 
from entering the commonwealth from elsewhere; 

* Livermore, Historical Research, 210. ' Ibid., 19-1 10. 

•Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 42-45. 


in others a n^[io» if set fcee, must fortliwitfa le- 
move from the state.^ 

Well-behaved and industrious free n^^ioes were 
probably little disturbed, and laws were not too 
hardly administered against them; but there was 
*\ a fearful potentiality of punishment. Free n^roes 
were especially forbidden to hold meetings or to 
teach one another to read and write. They could 
commonly inherit, hold, and transmit real and per- 
sonal property, but a free colored man was not 
allowed to testify against a white man, so that he 
could neither be witness against an aggressor nor 
even identify him before the court. In at least one 
state, by a whimsicality, a free negro was subject to 
a special poll-tax, the proceeds to be applied to colo- 
nization of his race in Africa.* 

The ground for these discriminations, as stated 
by the leading literary man of the south in 1837, was 
that "by emancipation and the pettings of philan- 
thropy the coarse and uneducated negro became 
lifted into a condition to which his intellect did 
not entitle him, and to which his manners were 
tmequal; — he became prestmiptuotis, accordingly, 
and consequently offensive." In contradiction to 
his own argument, the same writer a few pages 
fmther says: "They feel their inferiority to the 
whites, even when nominally freemen; and sink 

* Hurd, Lcnv of Freedom and Bondage, II., chaps, xvii.-xix. 

• Simms, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 207; Sttiart, North Amer- 
fca, II., 80. 

i86o] FREE NEGRO 87 

into the condition of serviles, in fact, if not in 
name." * 

To be at the same time presumptuous and servile, 
ambitious and deficient, was an illogical fate. A 
more frequent chaise was that the free negro was a 
criminal, "the very drones and pests of society." ' 
In the northern as well as in the southern states the 
petty and even aggravated crimes committed by ne- 
groes were far above their proportion in the popu- 
lation; and in the south there was the additional 
feeling that they were a standing incentive to the 
slave to abjure his allegiance to his master. In 
many cases, however, the free negroes were the best 
of the race, set free because of faithfulness and 
character, reasons which led Roger B. Taney, later 
chief-justice, to free his own slaves ; and he testified 
years after that he had not been disappointed.' In 
himdreds of cases they were the children of their 
masters, sometimes petted, indulged, and educated 
children ; in others they belonged to that small but 
desperately industrious class which bought its own 
freedom. On the other hand, there were many cases 
of freemen married to slave women, whose children 
went to the master of the mother. Whether or not 
it was the desire of the free negro to support himself 
and his family respectably, he rarely had the op- 
portimity; dislike and suspicion were against him 

* Simms, in Pro-Slavery Argument , 212, 220. 

' Dew, in ibid.t 422. 

■ Mass. Hist. Soc, Proceedings, 1 871-18 73, p. 447. 



eveiywhere, and the moment he got away from the 
place where he was known he found himself in dan- 
ger of kidnapping. 

V Jgbr it must not be f oigotten/ that if a slave could 
become free, a free negro could also become a slave, 
and that without fault or neglect on his own part. 
This reversion to slavery came about in many dif- 
ferent methods, all acting steadily and effectively. 
In the first place, persons who had been set free for 
years and had no reason to suppose that they were 
anything else, might be seized upon for defects in 
the legal process of manumission. There were in- 
stances where successful suits were brought for the 
possession of families who had lived in freedom 
immolested for thirty years.* 

The second method was by kidnagjaug, which 
was frequent in the north and south throughout the 
slavery period. One of the most striking cases, 
that of Peter Still, was revealed in all its enormity 
by the return of the stolen person to Philadelphia 
after more than twenty years' captivity.* Of cotu-se, 
a grown man or woman thus kidnapped might find 
means of communicating with his friends; but 
Solomon Northup was in bondage twelve years 
before he could attract the attention of the legal 
authorities to his undoubted claim to freedom.' In 

* E. g., Rhame vs. Fercruson and Dangerfield, in Buckingham, 
Slave States, II., ^2; Adams, Southside View, 154. 

' Pickard, Kidnapped ami Ransomed, 248. 

' McDougall, Fugitive Slaves, J 38; Chambers, Am. Slavery 
and Colour, 192. 

i86o] FREE NEGRO 89 

the south the oflfence was a little more dangerous, 
because it was closely akin to slave stealing, which 
was one of the most atrocious of all crimes against 
slave property. 

A still more common case was the sale of free y/ 
negroes for their jail fees, a thing which could hardly 
be believed but for the accumulation of evidence. 
In several of the southern states a negro who in- 
curred a fine which he could not pay might be sold 
as a slave. In Maryland a free negro imder certain 
circimistances might be sold as a perpetual slave, 
simply for the offence of coming into the state.* 
The practice attracted great attention in the north 
because of the revelation in 1829 that it was steadily 
going on in the District of Columbia.' The practice 
of the District authorities was to arrest any colored 
person who could not give an accoimt of himself, to 
advertise him, and, if nobody appeared to establish "^ 
a claim, to sell him in order to reimburse the jailers 
their fees. In five cases reported the marshal had 
not only recovered his fees, but about three himdred 
dollars more. The desperate injustice of condemn- 
ing a man to slavery because of a failure to prove 
him a slave was one of the most effective arguments 
of the abolitionists. The effects of these methods of 
re-enslavement are hard to calculate ; but for some 

* Case of Ned Davis in Maxyland, 1851, Chambers, Am, 
Slavery and Colour ^ 186-188. 

* Debates of Congress, 20 Cong., 2 Scss., 167, 175-187, 191; 
House Reports, 20 Cong, 2 Sess, No. 60; Niles' Register, XXXIV., 
191 ; Tremain, Slavery in District of Columbia, 42-49. 


cause there was a steady dinunutioD of free n^^roes 
in several southern states. Bitfaerfinee negroes could 
not keep up the natural increase of tfaeir xaoe or tfaey 
were forced back into slavery. 

In some instances, freemen for various reasons 
sought and obtained the status of the slave; and 
some states authorized any free n^^ro thus to choose 
him a master who, if he accepted the relation, be- 
came responsible for the n^^ro; but upon no pomt 
in the history of slavery is there less evidence than 
of a desire by the free negro for the comforts of a 
slave home. The whole system of slavery and slave 
codes was groimded upon the a priori belief that 
every slave desired to be free and every free negro 
desired to remain free. 

In the midst of poverty, degradation, and suspi- 
cion, some free negroes came to be persons of con- 
sideration in the southern community. Solomon 
Himiphries, a slave who had bought his own free- 
dom, was a well-known business man in Georgia, 
readily trusted by white merchants.^ Lundy found 
at San Antonio a Louisiana negro who had bought 
the freedom of his family and himself, owned several 
houses and lots, and his sister was married to a 
Frenchman.' The aggregate property of the two 
himdred and sixty-two thousand free negroes in the 
south in i860 has been estimated at twenty-five 
million dollars. Some of these people found means 

* Buckingham, Slave States, I., aii- 
' Life of Benjamin Lundy, 54. 

i86ol FREE NEGRO 91 

to make their way into the northern states, hoping 
for better c^portunities, for the more prosperous 
they were in the south the more striking was their 
silent argument against slavery. That nearly ten 
per cent, of the southern negroes should have been 
free in 1830 was a tribute to the humanity of the 
southern people, for every one was practically a V/ 
denial of the principle that slavery was a good 
thing for the negroes; and every thriving one dis- 
proved the argument that if the negro were set free 
be would starve rather than support himself. 



' //^NE reason for the outbreak of the abolition 
/' 4 \^ movement was increasing knowledge of the con- 
ditions of slavery. Improvements in transit, closer 
commercial relations be^een north and south, and 
a spirit of investigation into social conditions made 
possible an era of travel and observation in the 
south by foreigners and northerners.* The aboli- 
tionists at home clipped items from the southern 
newspapers and listened to the narratives of the 
fugitive slave. To describe the plantation system, 
especially its cruel and repulsive side, was their 
stock in trade ; while in the defences of slavery and 
the replies to the abolitionists the gentler side of 
slave-holding was held up to view.' 

The visitor who expected to find a distinct type 
of slave countenance and i:)erson was disappointed. 
Some had large infusions of white blood and pos- 
sessed European features; and some pure negroes 

*See list of travellers in chap. xxii.. below. 
' On the general conditions of slavery, Hart, Contemporaries ^ 
III., §§ 169-173. 


had oval faces, slender and supple figures, graceful 
hands, and small feet.^ Nevertheless, the majority 
of the negroes were coarse and imattractive in ap- 
pearance. Olmsted notes a group of road-making 
women as "clumsy, awkward, gross, elephantine in 
all their movements ; pouting, grinning, and leering 
at us; sly, sensual, and shameless in all their ex- 
pressions and demeanor." * Among the negroes, as 
among other races, there was no fixed standard of X 
capacity or character. Some masters were never 
weary of telling of the faithfulness and attachment 
of their slaves ; of their care for the children of the 
family; of their incorruptibility. One champion 
of slavery enumerates the virtues of slaves: "Fidel- 
ity — often proof against all temptation — even death 
itself — ^an eminently cheerftd and social temper . . . 
submission to constituted authority." * 'But the 
general tone towards the negro was one of dis- 
trust and aversion. Many masters believed that ^ 
" the negroes were so addicted to lying and stealing 
that they were not to be trusted out of sight or 
hearing." ^ At best they were thought big children, 
pleased with trifles, and easily forgetftd of penalties 
and pains. 

The slaves were rough and brutal among them- 
selves. Friendly observers complained of "the in- 

• Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 42, 85. 

'Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 387; cf. Martineau, Society 
in America, L, 212-234. 

• Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 46. 

• Reported by Buckingham, Slave Stales, II., 87. 

VOL. XVI. — 7 


soIent tytanny of tfaeir demeanor towaid eadi other ; 
. . . they are diabolically cruel to onwrnl^ too» and 
they seem to me as a rule hardly to know the differ- 
ence between truth and falsehood/' ^ Their indo- 
lence was the despair of every slave-owner, or was 
overcxnne by the strictest discipline. In many small 
households with few slaves and no patriarchal tradi- 
tion there was constant friction and flogging; tiieir 
shiftlessness, waste of their master's property, neg- 
lect of his animals, were almost proveibial; and 
the looseness of the marriage-tie and immorality 
of even the best of the n^roes were subjects of 
sorrow to those who fdt the re^xmsibility for 

Many of the negroes showed intellectual qualities, 
especially household slaves ; and thousands of slaves 
learned to read and write. The art was frowned 
upon, for " what has the slave of any country to do 
with heroic virtues, liberal knowledge, or el^;ant 
accomplishments?"* Nevertheless, the number of 
slaves who could read and write was probably not 
far from one-tenth of the whole.^ They were taught 
by kind-hearted mistresses and children of the 
family, who liked to give a pleasure and who disre- 
garded the statutes against the practice ; once taught, 
they communicated the art to one another, and secret 

* Kemble, Georgian Plantation , 263. 

* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 3S-41. 

* Grace £. Burroughs, unpublished manuscript on EducaM 


schools for the children of slaves were not un- 

Some of the letters written by escaped slaves 
showed education and superior power of expression. 
Yet in this period appeared no such slave prodigies 
as Phyllis Wheatley, the slave poet, whose verses 
were kindly received by Washington; or Benjamin 
Banneker, the astronomer, who was a guest at the 
table of President Jefferson. The literary negroes 
were nearly all escaped slaves, whose reminiscences 
bear the trace of a white man's correcting pen. The 
one literary opportimity for the slave on the soil 
was the telling of folk-stories, which show a vivid 
power of description, an imagination which personi- 
fies the ideas of the story-teller, and a rich and 
unctuous humor which delights by its sudden turns 
of situation. The only art in which the negroes ex- 
celled was music. They have an intuitive quick- 
ness in picking up simple musical instruments, and 
developed, if they did not invent, the banjo; but 
their songs were their chief intellectual efforts ; the 
words, simple, repetitive, sometimes senseless, were 
made the vehicle for a plaintive music' 

A proportion of the slaves now difficult to ascer- 

* Bremer, Homes of the New Worlds II., 499; Burke, Reminis* 
cences, 85; Douglass, Narrative, 32-44; Kemble, Georgian Plan* 
tation, 230, 257; Sraedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 79. 

* Harris, Nights with Uncle Remus, 143-20(5; Olmsted, SecL^ 
board Slave States, 551, 607; Bremer, Homes of the New World, 
II., 174; Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 127, 218; Douglass, Nar- 
rative, 13-15. 


tain was employed in other than household or field 
tasks. A few were fishermen, employed as cooks 
or hands on coasting cnift;^ a larger number served 
as roustabouts on the river steamers, where their 
picturesque appearance, songs, jollity, and hard 
work in handling freight and fuel attracted the at- 
tention of all travellers.* Slaves were freely used 
in the turpentine industry, which reqiiiied very little 
skill, and in the lumbering regions, as wood-choppers 
and to prepare lumber. Mining employed almost no 
slaves, the labor of free whites or free n^[roes was 
considered more profitable.* 

In addition to these rough tasks, a fraction of the 
slaves and free negroes, certainly not one-twentieth 
of the able-bodied men, were employed in skilled 
trades, especially building. Nearly all large planta- 
tions had a little force of blacksmiths, carpenters, 
bricklayers, and the like, and such skilled hands were 
frequently hired out by their masters.'* Most of the 
plantation buildings in the south were constructed 
by slave labor, and many of the town and city build- 
ings. Some slave mechanics could not only build, 
but draw plans, make contracts, and complete a 
house, even hiring out their own time and employing 
men on their o\vn responsibility.* This small pro- 

' Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States^ 351-355. 
^ Ibid., 551-564; Sttiart, North America, II., 153; Bucldng- 
ham. Slave States, I., 264. ' Lycll, Second Visit, I., 216. 

* Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 104. 

• Letter of G. W. Steedman, of St. Louis, to the author; cf. 
Lyell, Second Visit, I., 267. 


portion of industrial slaves was not much increased )( 
by slaves working in factories. The few iron ftir- 
naces in the south employed negro labor, hiring it 
at about two himdred dollars a year; and gangs 
of slaves could be foimd in the tobacco factories.* 
Among the few textile mills was a bagging fac- 
tory in Lexington, Kentucky, and cotton mills near 
Himtsville and at Salada, near Colimibia;' mills at 
Scottsville were profitably carried on by the labor 
of slave families owned by the corporation. De Bow, 
in 1852, was still hopeful of slave operatives, though 
only about one-fortieth of the cotton grown in the 
south was manufactured in the south, most of it by 
white labor.* 

Coming back again to the plantation, a sharp 
distinction was drawn between two great classes of 
slaves — the field slaves and house-servants. The 
present tradition in the south is that these house- 
servants were imiversally intelligent, faithful, and 
devoted ; indeed, there were many warm attachments 
between the slaves and the members of the owner's 
family,^ yet people at the time did not find them 
either refined or well-kept. On the Butler planta- 
tion in Georgia there was neither table nor chair in 
the kitchen ; the boys slept on the hearth, and the 

* Olmsted, Texas Journey^ 19; Buckingham, Slave States, I., 
43; VicksLTd, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 4^-4$; Bremer, Homes 
of the New World, II., 509. 

» Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, XXXVIII., 509; XXXIX., 755. 

* De Bow, Industrial Resources, II., 11 a. 

* Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, passim. 






women on rough boaid bedsteads stiewn wifh a 
little tree-moss. Rooms for household servants were 
almost nowhere provided; either they slept in sepa- 
rate buildings or stretched themselves on the £kxir 
or the passages, or even in the rooms of the family.^ 

One reason for the glamour cast over household 
slaves was that the best of the race was drawn into 
that service. The highest position to which a slave 
could aspire was to be butler or cook in the great 
house, where food was pl^ity, company enjoyable, 
and perquisites many.' The black mammy, who per- 
haps had brought up a whole family of white children 
— ^for white nurses were almost unknown — is still 
cherished in the minds of many southern people; 
but when she was young she was not always a per- 
son whose moral character influenced for good the 
children for whom she cared; and the maids too 
often had special temptations and dangers in the 
presence of the master and the master's sons. 

The characteristic life of the negro was as a plan- 
tation laborer ; he raised the greater p*t of the sur- 
plus product of the south and was the basis of most 
wealth; but he was a very unsatisfactory laborer. 
That a thrifty farmer like Olmsted shotdd be scan- 
dalized at the inefficiency of the negro is not re- 
markable;* but he made the same impression on his 

» Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 23, 66. 
' Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 82-S4. 
• Olmsted. Back Country, 432 ; Olmsted, Seaboard Slaoe SiaUs, 
10, 44-47* 99» »o5» 4S0-483. 


master, who freely acknowledged that slave labor 
could never be so cheap as free labor. ^ Owner after 
owner complained to visitors of his slaves. "In 
working niggers we must always calctdate that they 
will not labor at all except to avoid punishment ; . . . 
it always seems on the plantation as if they took 
pains to break all the tools and spoil all the cattle 
that they possibly can." ' 

On some plantations slaves worked from sunrise 
to sundown, about the hours of northern laborers 
then, and in addition had to cook their own meals. 
In many parts of the south there was task work. 
The task which was an average for a gang could be 
perfonned by some members of it so quickly that 
they got through as early as three, or even one 
o'clock; but it was almost impossible to increase 
the average result by any reward or pimishment. 
On all plantations the women worked alongside the 
men, even to the extent of driving a plough. Too 
little attention was paid to the pectdiar needs of 
working-women near childbirth, and lifelong injuries 
from overstrain among them were not tmcommon. 
Nevertheless, the testimony of witnesses is that, in 
general, the day's work of a slave was considerably ^ 
less than that of hired workmen in the north.* 

The ordinary food of the slave was corn-bread and 

* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 26. 

' Conversation in Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 105. 

• Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 334; Olmsted, Back Country, 
49, 80, 81. 


bacon, with sweet-potatoes and some other vegjetar 
bles; a peck of meal and thxx^e pounds of bacon a 
week, with a little sugar and wheat-flour, was 
thought a suitable ration for a hand; but many 
slaves had a little time for cultivating their own 
garden-patches, kept chickens, and sometimes pigs» 
with an occasional opossum or even a bear from their 
nocturnal hunting. The ordinary rations seem to 
have been suflScient for keeping up health. The 
conditions of life were easy in the south, and none 
but an extraordinarily stupid or cruel master would 
keep his slaves down to a point where they could not 
do full work ; and the household servants and their 
families, who swarmed in and out of the kitchen, 
never suffered. The delightftil southern cooking in 
such households, the inimitable fried chicken, the 
delicious beaten biscuit, the unrealizable methods of 
cooking fowls, turkeys, and game, did not extend 
among the poor planters or the poor whites, who 
for the most part lived in an atmosphere of grease 
and frying, with corresponding ill effects upon their 

The clothing of slaves was of every variety, from 
the smart mulatto lady's-maid, who wore the still 
fresh dress that had been her young mistress's, down 
to the pickaninny of three, five, or eight years of 
age, who went as nature made him. Most planta- 
tions issued coarse clothing at stated intervals. The 
shoes and some clothing on large plantations were 
made up by slaves set apart for that purpose, and 


house slaves often took pride in being smartly dress- 
ed in clothing fitted to them by professional tail- 

The cost of maintenance of field slaves was a ques- 
tion much discussed, and estimates by planters va- ^c 
ried from fifteen dollars a year, for food and clothing, 
up to fifty dollars; ' to which should be added medi- 
cal attendance, which might be five dollars a head, 
and overseer's wages, an average of ten dollars 
a head. If, therefore, the annual product of the 
plantation averaged seventy-five to one hundred 
dollars per head of all the slaves, there was some- 
thing to pay for wear and tear, interest, tools, etc., 
and a profit; but leaving out the old, the sick, the 
children too young to work, and the. women neces- 
sary for household and other services^otmore than L 
one-third of the slaves on a plantation could ordiy 
narily be put into the field. / 

The ideal plantation had a "great house," or 
family mansion, with its avenue of live-oaks sweep- 
ing up to the front doors, and at a little distance 
the negro quarters. Here are two accounts written 
within six years of each other: "Each cabin was a 
framed building, the walls boarded and whitewashed 
on the outside, lathed and plastered within, the roof 
shingled; . . . divided into two family tenements, 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, II., 27, 112, 686-694; Adams, 
Southside View, 29-32; Kemble. Georgian Plantation, 52, 179; 
Burke, Reminiscences, 113. 

' De Bow, Industrial Resources, I., 150. 


f Utr^tt ir^t\ 

each twenty-one by twenly-one; each 
divided into three rooms. . . . Besides these rooms, 
each tenement had a coddoCt, entered by steps 
from the household room. Each tenement is occu- 
pied, on an average, by five persons." ^ " No at- 
tempt at any drainage or any convenience existed 
near them. . . . Heaps of oyster shells, broken crock- 
ery, old shoes, rags, and feathers were found near 
each hut. The huts were all alike windowless, and 
the apertures, intended to be glazed some fine day, 
were generally filled up with a deal board. The 
roofs were shingle and the white-wash which had 
once given the settlement an air of cleanliness, was 
now only to be traced by patehes." * 

Slavery made real family life almost impossible, 
except on the smaller plantations, where one or more 
families of slaves were often the sole valuable asset 
of the owners, and they grew up alongside their 
masters. On the larger plantations the house slaves 
could bring up their own families, but marriage was 
subject to many difficulties. Many planters disliked 
to have their slaves married to slaves of their neigh- 
bors. On their own plantations owners exercised a 
kind of pater potestas over the alliances of their 
slaves, occasionally uniting them in such simple 
marriage services as, **Do you make Joe build a 
fire for Phillis and see that Phillis cooks for Joe and 

> Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 423. 

•Russell, Diary North and South, I., 212; cf. Olmsted, Sech 
board Slave States, 44, 1 11, 421, 629, 659, 692, 698. 


washes his clothes." * The negroes preferred a mar- 
riage ceremony, and sometimes were united in form 
at the great house. " I had a weddin' — a big wed- 
din' — for Marlow's kitchen. Your pa gib me a head 
weddin' — kilt a mutton — a round o' beef — tukkeys 
— cakes, one on t'other — trifle. I had all the chany 
off de sideboard, cups and saucers, de table, de white 
table-cloth. I had on your pa's wife's weddin' 
gloves an' slippers an' veil. De slippers was too 
small, but I put my toes in. Miss Mary had a mighty 
neat foot. Marster brought out a milk-pail o' toddy 
and more in bottles. De gentlemans an' marster 
stand up on de tables. He didn't rush 'mongst de 
black folks, you know. I had a tearin'-down wed- 
din, to be sho'. Nobody else didn't hab sich a 
weddin." * 

In the nature of things, slave marriages were 
unstable. The negroes themselves did not feel a 
strong sense of obligation to their spouses, and fre- 
quently deserted one another. However, so long as 
there were little children, somebody must take care 
of them, though, inasmuch as the little negro was 
welcomed chiefly as adding to the wealth of hi^ 
master, the ordinary beautiful relations of child and\ 
parent were difficult. On some plantations th^re 
was a nursery for the babies while their mothers 
were in the field. As the old slave woman expressed 
it, " You feel when your child is bom you can't have 

" Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 153. 

* Aunt Harriet, in Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 55. 


the bringing of it up." * As children grew up they 
were employed for light tasks about the house and 
the place, and often were made petted playthings 
and riotous companions for their young masters, 
unless, indeed, their yellow tinge suggested to some 
member of the hotisehold that they were "a little 
more than kin and less than kind." ' 

One of the strong arguments for slavery was that 
it abolished the poor-house and provided for the 
infirm and the aged. Absolute abandonment of a 
slave by a master who had the means to provide 
for him was next to impossible, because he would 
thereby become a public charge; and the slave 
codes commonly provided penalties for such cases. 
Sometimes old slaves were protected characters;* 
but there were many instances of sick and old slaves 
who had but a pittance for their support.* 

On many plantations the negroes were allowed 
privileges, such as the right to keep bees, or to sell 
small articles that had been made; and occasional 
holidays, especially at Christmas-time, when work 
was sometimes suspended for several days.* The 
right to keep truck-patches and to cultivate them 
was highly appreciated by the negroes. Money gifts 
to slaves were not uncommon, especially at Christ- 
mas, when tobacco, clothing, and molasses were 

• Adams, Southside View, 84; cf. Page, The Negro, 174. 

' "Southern Woman," in N. Y. Independent, March 17, 1904, 
p. 586. * Adams, Southside View, 47. 

* Parsons, Iftside View of Slavery, 154; Elliot, Sinfulness of 
Slavery, I., 212. ' Adams, Southside View, 35. 


often liberally dealt out, sometimes to the value of 
ten dollars for each slave.* Some slaves earned con- 
siderable sums by working for themselves on Stm- 
day. The negro also had his recreations, picnics, 
and barbecues, visiting from plantation to planta- 
tion ; in the cities going to shows, racing horses, and 

"Yes, honey," said a reminiscent slave, "dat he 
did gib us Fourth o' July, — a plenty o' holiday, — a 
beef kilt, a mutton, hogs, salt and pepper, an* ebery- 
thing. He hab a gre't trench dug, an* a whole load 
o' wood put in it, an* burned down to coals. Den 
dey put wooden spits across, an' dey had spoons an* 
basted de meat, an* he did not miss givin* us whis- 
key to drink, — a plenty of it, too. An' we 'vite all 
de culled people aroun', an' dey come, an' we had 
fine times. Our people was so good, and dey had 
so much. Dyar wam*t no sich people no whyar. 
Marster mus*n't be named de same day as udder 
people." • 

The slaves greatly enjoyed religious meetings. 
Some churches had special galleries set apart for \/ 
negro attendance, and there were also many sepa- 
rate negro churches, like the rural white churches, 
small and rough buildings, standing at cross-roads 

> Olmsted, Back Country, 51; cf. Olmsted, Seaboard Slave 
States, 439-443» 484. 682. 695. 

•Olmsted, Seaboard Slaw States, 63, 75, 101-103, 394, 439, 
630; Burke, Reminiscences, 92; Smedes, Memorials of a Southern 
Planter, 1 61-164. 

• Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 58. 


far away from setflements. Like thdr poor liriiite 
neighbors, any one who had a gift of exfaorttqg and 
praying, thereby became a minister; and in botih 
city and country churches there was an immflnse 
amount of the shouting which was equally enjoyed 
by many white congr^;ations. 

Such religious services, though sometimes imbued 
with a genuine religious spirit and an incitement to 
the better life, were more often an appeal to the 
emotional nature. In the camp - meetings, which 
were held on the san:ie model as those of the whites, 
and sometimes in the same place, though in sepa- 
rate amphitheatres, the negro had his highest enjoy- 
ment. An eye-witness says: "In the camp of the 
blacks is heard a great tumult and a loud cry. Men 
roar and bawl out; women screech like pigs about 
to be killed ; many, having fallen into convulsions, 
leap and strike around them, so that they are 
obliged to be held down. It looks here and there 
like a regular fight ; some of the calmer participants 
laugh. Many a cry of anguish may be heard, but 
you distinguish no words excepting *0h, I am a 
sinner!' and 'Jesus! Jesus!*" * 

In a Christian commtmity believing that all*men 
had souls to save, it would have been monstrous to 
deny the opportunity of salvation to the African. 
Some plantations had little churches of their own; 
masters permitted prayer-meetings in the houses of 
n^roes; elsewhere services were held at the great 

* Bremer, Homes of the New World, I., 309. 


houses by the owners, although many people thought 
it dangerous.* Wherever attempts were made at 
formal religious instruction to slaves the question 
at once arose of their being encouraged to learn to 
read the Bible, though it must be presumed to be in 
accord with slavery, ^he safest way seemed to be 
to give the African "acquaintance with the word \/^ 
of God . . . through oral instruction." ' 

One side of the Christian religion was made suffi- 
ciently familiar to most negroes — namely, injunctions 
to servants to obey their masters and to be satisfied 
in the station to which the Lord had appointed 
them; yet many thousands found comfort and 
hope in the belief that a life of labor and privation 
was to be followed by a glorious eternity in heaven, 
although even here there was a doubt as to whether 
it would be the same heaven as that of the white 

The question of a future life came home to the 
negro because he was so much more subject than 
his white brother to death; among the diseases 
most fatal to negroes were congestion of the lungs, 
yaws (a contagious filth disease), "negro consump- 
tion," and colic. Some medical authorities diag- 
nosed also "hebetude of mind," a general breaking- 
down of the will and nervous force which over- 
seers commonly supposed to be simple insolence 
and ptmished accordingly. The negroes were liable 

* Kemble, Georgian Plantation ^ 267. 
'Adams, Southside View, 57. 




to intermittent fever, probably of a malarial char- 
acter, and other forms oi mysterioos fevers. The 
greatest loss of life was among children, who had 
poor food and often most ignorant care.* Epilepsy 
was infrequent, and the census of 1840 showed 
only 1407 insane slaves, although there were doubt- 
less many who were really non compos, but were 
retained on the plantation. Good plantatioiis al- 
ways had a contract doctor by the year to at- 
tend any cases that occurred; but tiie overseer 
was frequently the judge as to the nature of 
the disease, the remedy, and the moment when 
the work was to be resumed. Laige estates had 
hospitals and separate lying-in hospitals, the char- 
acter of which depended upon the humanity and 
intelligence of the owner.' 

The death-rate of the negroes was then, as it has 
continued to be, much lai^er than that of the 
whites.* Registration statistics in slavery times are 
incomplete except in Charleston. The very unsatis- 
factory figures of 1850 showed a white and free-ne- 
gro death-rate of 13.6, and a slave-rate of 16.4 in 
the thousand. That the negroes continued to in- 
crease at about the same ratio as the whites was 
due to their phenomenal birth-rate. 

* De Bow, Industrial Resources, II., 292-303, 315-329; Kemble, 
Georgian Plantation, 39, 90. 

'Olmsted, Back Country, 77; Kemble, Georgian Plantaium, 
30"35. 121, 214-216. 

' Eighth U. S. Census, i860. Population, Introduction, p. zlv. 



SLAVE labor always depends upon physical force 
abtindant enough, swift enough, and thorough 
enough to compel obedience and to break down in- / 
subordination ; and the slave system was backed up ^ 
by a large body of statutory law and a private 
system for ptmishing offences. The slave codes in- 
cluded much of the law applicable to the free negro,* 
with special provisions applicable only to bondmen.* 
In selecting out of the mass of legislation some of 
the most characteristic provisions, it should be re- 
membered that the slave codes were always more 
severe in the commimities having the largest ntmiber 
of slaves — ^that is, in the lower south. 

In part, the slave codes were intended for the 
protection of the slave against ill-usage. Several X 
states had laws against Simday work, others against 
undue tasks, others provided for a minimum ration, 
or for a mid-day rest. All the slave-holding states 
made the malicious and unnecessary killing of a 

* See above, chap. vi. 

* Hurd, Law of Freedom and Bondage, I., || 216-230. 

▼OL. XVI. — 8 





dave a capital oSeiice, but fhe master was aUowed to 
exercise authority sufficient to protect his life and eo* 
force his commands; and the Tennessee laws of 1836 
specifically provided that '"any slave dying under 
moderate correction*' could not be held to be mur- 
dered.^ Statutes also forbade the maiming or brand- 
ing of a slave by the master. On the other hand, 
the slave codes recognized the master as sole owner 
of such property as a slave might nominally possess. 
Whether taken as real-estate» which in several states 
the negro was l^ally held to be for purposes of 
mortgage and inheritance, or as a chattel, the law 
upheld the master in such leases or sale of the slave 
as seemed to him desirable; and a slave was liable 
to forced sale in payment of the master's debts. 
The spirit of the law was throughout to emphasize 
the power, authority, and right of the master. 
\Slaves were subject to a body of statutory law 
against assembling. In Delaware, six men slaves 
meeting Itogether, not belonging to one master, 
might be whipped for that offence. T o keep a gun 
was pimishable, in Virginia, with thirty-nine lashes ; 
to be on hoisehack without the written permit of a 
master meant twenty - five lashes ; .fishing with a 
seine in certain waters, thirty-nine lash^' Further- 
more, for some offences, such as arson, the punish- 
ment of the slave was more severe than of a white 
or a free negro. One of the unforgivable crimes 
was the killing of a white man by a slave; and 

> Stroud, Slave Laws, 6i. ' Ibid.^ x6a, z66, 167. 


though the courts sometimes himianely stepped in 
to save the negro who had taken life simply to de- 
fend his own life, public sentiment usually demand- 
ed the death of the assailant.* 

The ever-present fear of insurrections caused most 
of the southern states toTnake special provisions y" 
against the movement of the negroes, especially at 
night; hence some of the cities had curfew laws, 
and throughout the south there was stringent legis- 
lation against negroes being away from their own 
plantation without written permission from the mas- 
ter or his representative.' To make these laws ef- 
fective, there was a system of patrols, "the patter 
rollers," with whom Uncle Remus threatened little 
boys. The vigilance exercised in a town is described 
by a contemporary: " Last night a slave passing the 
jail was ordered by Esq. Wilson to stop. * Where are 
you going?' *My master sent me after the doctor.' 
* It is a d — d lie,' said Wilson, 'pull off your shirt.' 
*I can't do that,' said the slave and took hold of 
Wilson. The guards came to his help and held the 
slave while Wilson gave him twenty lashes. ' Now 
go home,' said he. * I shan't ; I shall go after the doc- 
tor, ' replied the slave, and ran, Wilson pursuing him. ' ' " 

The patrol was really a kind of police-militia niade 
up of men of the neighborhood, who rode the high- 

* Hurd, Law of Freedom and Bondage ^ II., chaps, xvii.-xix.; 
Stroud, Slave Laws, 169-188. 

* Adams, Southside View, 24; Burke, Reminiscences, 17; Olm- 
sted, Seaboard Slave States, 558, 592; Northup, Twelve Years a 
Slave, 157. * Thompson , Prison Life , 60 . 




ways in bands, received a small payment for each 
night of service, and foedy stopped all negroes whom 
they found on the roads, whipping those whom they 
rocognized as out without leave, and detaining un- 
known n^froes as probable runawa]^^. Imprison- 
ment was no penalty for a slave, wlu> could not be 
kept employed and who must be fed; and therefore 
the minor delinquencies of lariness and neglect were 
usually visited by the whip of the master or mistress 
or overseer. More serious offen&s, such as theft, 
small personal injuries to other negroes, and the like, 
though punishable by the courts, were commonly 
taken care of in the same way; and aggravated 
offences of insubordination, or of running away, 
were treated with greater severity of the same kind. 
Mild-tempered mistresses and even masters often 
sent household slaves to the calaboose, which was 
the local jail, with instructions that they should be 
whipped by the jailer for a small fee. Thus De Bow 
could truthfully say: '*0n our estates we dispense 
with the whole machinery of public police and pub- 
lic courts of justice. Thus we try, decide, and 
execute the sentences in thousands of cases, which 
in other cotm tries would go into the courts." * For 
man, woman, and child, the only ultimate sanction ^ 
for a command was force, and the commtmity did 
not feel kindly towards masters who spoiled their 
slaves by leaving them imcorrected.' 

> De Bow, Indtisirial Resources, II., 249. 
' Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 194, 195. 



The spirit and extent of slave punishments de- 
pended upon a combination of two conceptions: 
the negro was treated as a child who must be 
thumped into obedience; at the same time he was A 
looked upon as an adult, capable of imderstanding 
responsibility and of wilfully defying his master. 
No cold-blooded reason could fairly apportion pun- 
ishment tmder such contradictions. If a task was 
set, not to complete it must be, according to the 
temper of the overseer, either a child's shirking or a 
man's insubordination; if a negro was reproved, his 
explanation might be only a silly subterfuge or a 
desperate defiance; an attempt to run away, in 
order to avoid a thrashing, was either a piece of 
boyish folly or a wilful aggravation of the original 
offence ; and to put out the hand to ward off a blow 
might be an involtmtary act or the impardonable 
sin of resistance to a white man.* 

The most common instrument of pimishment was 
the cowhide or the black -snake whip of leather, 
which could be used freely in the fields; but the 
cowskin, if used with determination, was likely to 
cut into the skin and leave indelible scars; hence 
there were advocates of the rival strap or paddle. 
For a thoroughgoing whipping, the slave was usu- 
ally triced up, often hung by the thumbs, with his 
or her toes just touching the ground, or made help- 

* Douglass, Narrative, 78; Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 289; 
Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 438, 484; Olmsted, Back Coun" 
try, 82. 


less by «a stick tied under tiie knees, or he was 
"staked out." * "A mere whipping" or "a good 
thrashing" or "a dose" were euphemisms for the 
torture of the lash. Yet flogging was in tiiis period 
the normal pimishment in the navy and merchant 
marine, had barely disappeared from the army» was 
still l^al towards apprentices, and in some com- 
mimities towards wives, and was a conmion x>un- 
ishment throughout the south for the less serious 
crimes of whites. To most slaves tiie sight of the 
lash was too familiar to make it a di^frace. If 
slavery was allowed at all, perhaps whipping was 
as mild a means of enfoxx^ing it as could be devised. 
To whip big, lusty men, whose hides had been 
tanned by a dozen floggings, was one thing; but 
people brought up with a sense of the dignity of the 
human body thought frightfid "the brutal inhu- 
manity of allowing a man to strip and lash a woman, 
the mother of ten children, to exact from her toil 
which was to maintain in luxury two idle young 
men, the owners of the plantation." ' Somehow the 
sight of a girl fotmd skulking in a ditch, upon whom 
the overseer most indecently bestowed fifty or sixty 
blows, "well laid on as a boatswain would thrash a 
skulking sailor or as some people break a balking 
horse," turned the stomach of Olmsted; and we can 
hear her, as he did, writhing, grovelling, and scream- 
ing — "Oh, don't, sir! oh, please stop, master! please 

* Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 35, 39. 
» Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 125. 


sir! please, sir! oh, that's enough, master! oh Lordl 
oh master, master! oh, God, master, do stop! oh 
God, master! oh God, master!" * 

Even such brutal floggings belong to the mild- / 

er side of slave discipline. For crimes committed V 
either by free negroes or by slaves there was the 
machinery of the law. The general impression was 
that the free negroes, though guilty of many small 
offences, seldom committed serious crimes ; ' and 
they were tried by the usual tribtmals even in such 
serious matters as insurrection. Slaves guilty of 
assaults and murders also usually went to the reg- 
ular coiuts. The master was always interested in 
defending his own slave from an tmjust accusation 
or imlicensed ptmishment, and it does not appear 
that courts were undtaly prejudiced against the 
slave; but the universal rule that no testimony of 
negroes, slaves or free, could be received against a 
white man made justice difficult in cases involving 
both whites and negroes. 

A great number of crimes not capital when com- . 
mitted by whites were ptmishable by death if X 
committed by a slave, including arson, rape, con- 
spiracy to rebel, striking a master or any member 
of the master's family, resisting legal arrest or ptm- 
ishment, and burglary." vJThe difficulty was that an 
execution destroyed a valuable piece of property, 

> Olmsted, Back Country, 83-88. 

• Adams, Southside View, 41. 

* Stroud, Slave Laws, 170-184. 



/for which the master ci fhe dave must be paid by 
government; and in many cases fhe real penalty 
was that the n^;ro was sold into some other county 
or state. As late as 1808 slaves were burned alive 
by order of a court in Charleston; and for sup- 
posed complicity in setting a fire in Augusta, in 
1830, a slave woman was executed and quartered.* 

In several states summary tribunals were pio- 
V: vided by law to take cognizance ci slave offences. 
For example, in South Carolina there was a jus- 
tice and freeholders court of three meosbers, which 
was judge, prosecuting attorney, and juiy in one. 
Such courts, in South Carolina, could even inflict 
the punishment of death, and in 1832 "sentenced 
and caused the execution of thirty-five slaves on a 
charge of insurrection." ' That the system was not 
satisfactory was shown by a protest of the governor 
of South Carolina, in 1853, who held up the decision 
of such courts as " rarely in conformity with justice 
and humanity." ' 

Beyond these regtdar and special courts was a 
y system of dealing with both slaves and free negroes 
by lynch law, commonly for murder of whites or for 
violent crimes against white women ; for such crimes 
were considered a kind of rebellion of the inferior 
race against the superior, the serpent biting the 
heel; among thirty recorded cases of the burning 

' Stuart, North America, II., 82; . Olmsted, Seaboard Slave 
States, 499. ' J^Yf Miscellaneous Writings, 133. 

' Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 499. 


of a negro by a mob, between 1825 and i860, the 
most conspicuotis was that of Mcintosh in 1835: a 
mtdatto, who, for killing an officer of the law who 
was trying to arrest him, was taken out of jail by a 
mob in St. Louis, tied to a tree and burned to death. 
Judge Lawless, the county magistrate, charged the 
grand jury that if this lynching "was the act . . . 
of the many — of the multitude, in the ordinary sense 
of these words, ... of congregated thousands, seized 
upon and impelled by . . . frenzy, . . . then I say, act 
not at all in the matter ; the case then transcends your 
jurisdiction — ^it is beyond the reach of himian law." * 

As the years went by, the number of such lynch- 
ings increased, although in the decade between 1850 
and i860, of forty -six recorded negro mimiers of 
owners or overseers, twenty were legally executed 
and twenty-six were lynched, of whom nine were 
burned at the stake; for rape, five negroes were 
legally executed and twelve were lynched, of whom 
four were burned, although many other cases of 
rape received a lighter ptmishment.' 

Another series of legal offences could be com- 
mitted by white people with reference to slaves, y 
Consorting with negroes, free or slave, was a serious 
offence strictly prohibited ; trading with slaves was 
also forbidden, for a constant complaint of planters 

' Lovejoys, Love joy y 168-178; Cutler, Lynch Law, 108; criti- 
cised in Lincoln, Works, I., 10. 

' Cutler, Lynch Law, 126-128; data prepared for the author 
by G. T. Stephenson, of Pendleton, North Carolina. 





was that their supplies and crops disappeared and 
were turned into luxuries or whiskey fay ezcfaaqge 
with low-down white men in the neic^ibQiluxxL^ 
Another crime was the heinous one of slave-stealing, 
akin in malevolence to horse-stealing on the frontier. 
Inasmuch as the slave could tell where he came 
from, it was hard to carry it out successfully without 
the collusion of the n^^roes, who were sometimes 
persuaded to run away fay a promise to take them 
to Canada, and sometimes entered into a conspiracy 
fay which they were sold, ran away, and returned to 
the confederate, who sold them again.' Helping a 
slave to escape was also slave-stealing, as the few 
abolitionists f otmd who were detected in the act.* 

One oflfence totally unknown to the law of the 
northern states, was the teaching of negroes, and es- 
pecially of slaves, to read ; in North Carolina it was 
a misdemeanor to sell or give a slave any faook or 
pamphlet. That the laws were no dead-letter was 
shown when Mrs. Anne Douglass, a South Carolina 
woman living in Norfolk, Virginia, set up a little 
school for teaching colored children. In 1853 she 
was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for thirty 
days for breaking a law, of the existence of which 
she had no knowledge.* 

Wherever there was as many as twenty slaves it 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 349, 634. 

* Marryat, D*ar>r in America (Am. ed.), 127; 2d series, 89-92. 
•See chap, xx., below. 

* Chambers, Am. Slavery and Colour, 190; Massie, America, 88. 


was common to employ an overseer, and on large V 
plantations there must, under the law, be several 
white men. Many of the cruelties and excesses of 
slavery came from this almost imiversal system of 
delegating authority, even when the master was on 
the plantation. The calling of the overseer was dis- 
reputable, and was almost never sought by mem- 
bers of the large slave-holding families ;.• hence the 
immediate care of the slaves fell upon members of 
the poor white class, rough, imeducated, and brutal. 
The main purpose of the overseer was to " make his 
crop," and where the land-owner was absent the 
whole or the greater part of the year, his judgment 
of the overseer depended upon the surplus available 
for his own support. The overseer was paid an 
annual salary, up to about one thousand dollars a 
year, and sometimes had a share of the profits. He 
had little or nothing to do with the household slaves, 
but otherwise occupied the combined responsibility 
of a farm manager, the warden of a jail, and the 
elder brother in a rude and timiultuous family. 

To get good overseers was hard. A man on a 
plantation described them as "passionate, careless, 
inhuman, generally intemperate, and totally unfit 
for the duties of the position." * He was in general '^ 
opposed to improvement in the processes of agri- 
culture ; his system of management was severe, and 
his moral influence upon the negroes imwholesome. 

* Olmsted, Back Country, 44, 51-64; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave 
States, 485-487; Chesnutt, Conjure Woman, 


He set few of those exanqdes of refinement and 
Christianity which the house servants often enjogfod* 
and was a standing refutation of the theory that 
slavery tended to raise the negfo through faii con- 
tact with superior white people. 

On a few plantations there was a n^gxo foreman, 
who was practically the manager of the estate.^ 
Such men must be carefully distinguished horn the 
so-called "slave-drivers/* who were simply gang- 
bosses relieved from physical labor, armed with a 
whip, and set among the slaves to see that their 
tasks were performed.* The drivers had to justify 
their being by tirging their fellows to work, and were 
liked by neither side. 

How far slavery, as a system, was inhuman and 
barbarous is difficult to decide. Charges of cruelty 
were fiercely pressed by the abolitionists, who threw 
out a drag-net for every case that came to their 
knowledge; and they proved beyond question that 
there were many awful instances of barbarity which 
public opinion did not check. Take the case of 
Madame Lalatirie, of New Orleans, in 1834, who 
forced a little slave girl with a whip to the roof of 
her house, where, in despair and terror, the child 
fell off and was killed ; and chained her cook to the 
wall, till the woman, in utter despair, set fire to the 

* Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 155; Olmsted, Seaboard 
Slave States, 426. 

» Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 205-208, 436-438; Olmsted, 
Back Country, 48. 


house, and the fire-company discovered the miserable 
story. The woman had to flee for her life from the 
city, to which she never returned, but she had for 
years been known to be a cruel mistress.* 

On the other hand, the defenders of slavery 
pointed out that the slaves were protected by the 
master's self-interest; "who but a drivelling fa- 
natic," asks one, "has thought of the necessity of 
protecting domestic animals from the cruelty of 
their owners?"; and another pointed to the unpopu- 
larity of the harsh and brutal slave-owner. Never- 
theless, people perfectly well known to be habitually 
cruel to their slaves were not excluded from good 
society.' What the abolitionists complained of was 
not cruelty in itself, but a system in which cruelty 
was held to be an indispensable element. 

The worst excesses came from that disregard of 
a man's interest in his own property which is 
roused in any owner of a balky horse and which was 
immensely aggravated by the fact that the negro 
could speak, reason, and remember. Those travel- 
lers most disposed to see the bright side of slavery 
record instances of masters who killed their own 
slaves or who lost them by abuse and neglect.* 

» Cable, Strange True Stories of La., 200-219; Bremer, Homes 
of the New World, II., 244. 

* Harper and Simms, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 31, 228; cf. 
Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter, 105; Bremer. Homes 
of the New World, II., 511. 

•Hodgson, Letters, 186-189; Burke, Reminiscences, 169-174; 
Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 569-571. 



They also saw cases where white men were prose- 
cuted for the murder or ill-usage of their own slaves 
or of other n^proes,^ but such checks acted slowly 
and irregularly. 

The control of the slaves by any severity neces- 
sary to preserve slavery was deeply inwxxxigfat into 
the whole fabric of southern law and society. Its 
worst features b^^an in colonial times, when like 
harsh and brutal treatment was accorded to white 
servants and to n^ro slaves. The f erodons legal 
pimishments of slaves were not tuilike those of the 
English common law. White convicts were habitu- 
ally governed by the lash as the slaves were. To 
the minds of the southern people, therefore, slavery 
did not present a case of a deliberate building-up of 
a cruel r^ime; it was rather a continuance of a 
state of things not exactly comfortable, but without 
which slavery could not exist; barbarities, fierce 
and sanguinary punishments, lynchings, did not 
seem abnormal to the slave-holders; and if slavery 
itself was allowable in a Christian and enlightened 
community, any method necessary to keep it up 
was justified. The indictment of slavery was that 
it was a deliberate refusal to go along with the rest 
of the world in the enjoyment of a more humane 
spirit than that of the eighteenth century. 

' Adams, Sautksuie View, 37*40; Child, Oasis, 242-250. 


(i 830-1 860) 

WITH very small exceptions the negro slave 
was absolutely subject to sale at such times, )^ 
to such persons, and on such terms as pleased his 
master. The ownership was as absolute as that of 
a horse or a watch. Although prosperous masters 
commonly did not sell slaves, the threat of being 
"sent down the river" for bad conduct was often 
realized ; and able-bodied slaves who began to lose 
their vigor and vitality were sometimes sold because 
no longer profitable as work-hands; or at the death 
of a master, especially if the estate went to several 
heirs, among whom the proceeds had to be divided. 
There was always an undercurrent of feeling that to 
part with one's slaves was ignoble ; hence the most 
frequent reason for selling. was simply that the mas- 
ter was obliged to realize, either to pay for some- 
thing that he wanted to buy, or because he was in 

Was it true, as charged by the abolitionists, that 
slaves were bred in the border states for no other 
purpose than to sell them ? Probably the truth was 

lor every likely boy he had, if he sh 
it, that made him stay here and be 
t:ikinj; care of a fjiuig of niggers who 
enough to enable his family to live dec 
fact that some thousands of negroes i 
the border states for the south seemec 
there was a profit in keeping them ali\ 
investigations seem to establish tha 
number of these negroes were taksa : 
the men who owned them to settle in 
and there was no undue proportion of y 
in the border states such as would have 
if there had been a definite system o 

In many cases slaves passed simply 
to purchaser like fancy stock, but tb 
was to attract buyers by advertisema 
two weeks there appeared in the coluu 
four southern newspapers advertisemeni 
of forty - one hundred n^roes, beside 
to be sold at auction, as, for exampli 

'Ohnsted.BaekCnutti'" -"■ 

i86o] SLAVE-MARKET 125 

Sales. Excellent Cook. Will be sold at private sale, 
a Woman, about 22 years of age, an excellent cook, 
(meat and pastry) Plain Washer, etc. She is sound 
and healthy and can make herself generally useful." * 

The greater part of the traffic was in the hands 
of dealers and auctioneers, who acted as middle- 
men. The common method was for a finn to have 
a buying-house, with headquarters in the border 
states, as at Washington or Norfolk; they rode 
through the cotmtry with cash in their pockets, as 
cattle-buyers rode farther north, and picked up 
likely negroes wherever they could ; the slaves were 
then brought together in barracoons, or private 
slave jails, and there kept until a sufficient number 
had accumulated for a sale or shipment. The slave- 
traders had no social reward for this useful service ; 
a traveller in a steamer noticed "that the planters 
on board . . . shimned all intercourse with this 
dealer, as if they regarded his business as scarcely 
respectable." ' 

However despised, the business was profitable. 
The private sales involved no public exhibition of 
the merchandise, and in many cases showed some 
regard to the preference of the slaves. The public 
sales brought out the worst side of the whole system. 
The north was shocked by such grouping of human 
and brute merchandise as : " Sheriff's Sale. I will 

^ Key to Uncle TonCs Cabin, 142; Charleston Mercury , Jiily 
6, 1857. 

' Lyell, Second Visit, L, 232; cf. Adams, Southside View, 77. 

▼OL. XVI. — o 


sell at Fairfield Court Hotise, 2 Negroes, 2 Horses 
and I Jennet, i pair of Cart Wheels, i Bedstead, i 
Riding Saddle. Sheriff's Office, Nov. 19, 1852."* 
Nowhere was the reptilsiveness of slavery so appar- 
ent as in the slave auction-rooms maintained in most 
southern cities. One spectator saw a woman put 
upon the block, obviously very ill, who owned to a 
bad cough and pain in her side, to which the auc- 
tioneer replied: "Never mind what she says, gen- 
tlemen, I told you she was a shammer. Her health 
is good enough. Damn her humbug. Give her a 
touch or two of the cow-hide, and I'll warrant she 
will do your work. Speak, gentlemen, before I 
knock her down." ' Another was shocked at the 
free - and - easy treatment of women : '* There were 
some very pretty light mulattoes. A gentleman 
took one of the prettiest of them by the chin, and 
opened her mouth to see the state of her gimis and 
teeth, with no more ceremony than if she had been 
a horse." ' Another was struck by the offer of **a 
woman still yotmg, and three children, all for $850." 
Another was startled to see a negro baby sold on 
the block without its mother, but was pretematu- 
rally reassured when told by a slave-holding friend 
that " nothing of the kind ever took place before to 
our knowledge." * 

* Key to Uftcle Tom*s Cabin, 134. 

' Hamilton, Men and Manners in America, 317. 

* Bremer, Homes of iJie Xew World, II., 204. 

* Chambers, Things as they Are in America, 280; Adams, South- 
side View, 68. 

i86o] SLAVE-MARKET 127 

The hateful thing about both public and private 
sales was the transfer from a kind and indulgent 
to an unknown and perhaps cruel master. A slave 
might be, and sometimes was, transferred for a 
gambling debt, or from mere caprice ; or one might 
see a negro leading a little group of his fellows tied 
with a rope ; or very light and handsome girls were 
sold to supply the worst of businesses.* There were 
cases of the sale of slave preachers, and a story is 
current that one such was bought by his own con- 

Where an estate of slaves was divided among 
humane people, the slaves were separated into lots 
equivalent in value to the shares of the various 
heirs.' In other cases, branches of the family that 
had the money bought in as many as possible of the 
negroes to prevent separation ; but the annals of the 
time contain thousands of instances of the heart- 
less breaking-up of families. " Sixteen children I've 
had, first and last," said Charity Bowery; "... from 
the time my first baby was bom, I always set my 
heart upon buying freedom for some of my children, 
. . . but Mistress Kinnon wouldn't let me have my 
children. One after another — one after another — 
she sold 'em away from me. Oh, how many times 

* Thompson, Prison Life, 352; Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 
259; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 30; Bremer, Homes of the 
New World, I., 373. 

' Related to the author by Mr. C. S. McGehee, of Atlanta; cf. 
Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 567. 

• Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 200. 




that woman's broke my heart!" * It was no stiffi- 
cient answer to point out that slave families were 
not the only ones broken up, and that such acci- 
dents must not be remembered against ten thousand 
acts of kindness.' Still more contrary to the ordi- 
nary instincts of htmianity was the occasional sale 
of a master's children.* Some masters abandoned 
them without a thought; but whatever efforts a 
himiane father might make to secure his own off- 
spring from the abyss, those very persons might be 
singled out for the animosity of other children of a 
more honorable origin. The breaking-up of families 
was a denial of the principle upon which the com- 
mtmity of white persons was fotmded, and it was 
practically an acknowledgment that the slave par- 
ent had no right even to his own flesh and blood. 
Slave-holders and ex-slave-holders have condemned 
the practice as an tmpardonable mistake.* 

The price of slaves varied from locality to locality 
and from decade to decade. In 1798, just after 
cotton became profitable, $200 was a good price for 
a field-hand.* In 1822 the average value, as they 
ran, was supposed to be about $300. In 1830, $600 
was a good price. In 1840, prime cotton hands were 
worth $1000 or more; and in 1859, at Savannah, 

* Hart, Source Book, 256; other examples in Stuart, North 
America, II., 56; Thompson, Prison Life, 367; Burke, Reminis- 
cences, 160-162; Botume, First Days among Contrabands, 164. 

' Adams, Southside View, 79, 80. 

* Buckingham, Slave States^ I., 248; II., 213. 

* Wise, End of an Era, 87. • Kettell, Southern Wealth, 1 3a. 

i86o] SLAVE-MARKET 129 

prime women sold at $1100 to $1200; men as high 
as $1300. An eye-witness records the sale of two 
negro girls, one with a child in her arms, for $3565.* 

No such figures could possibly have been obtained 
in the border slave states had it not been for the 
opportimity of selling to other communities; and 
there was a brisk movement of slaves from north to 
south. This lively interstate trade bristled with 
points for the anti-slavery agitators. The traffic was 
under a sort of ban, especially as the external slave- 
trade was generally thought tmnatural. Though 
the carrying of slaves by sea from the ports of 
Maryland and Virginia to South Atlantic and Gulf 
ports involved no shocking cruelties, the preliminary 
collection of slaves and their lodgment in the barra- 
coons profoundly affected northern sentiment. In 
the year 1829, 452 slaves were deposited in the fed- 
eral prison in Washington, to keep there safe tmtil 
they could be shipped ; and in 1834 a thousand slaves 
were being shipped from Washington every year. 
This demand for slaves to be sold south was a set- 
back for the colonization scheme, since in the bor- 
der states the money value of slaves was too high 
to make manumission popular.' 

The overland trade aroused much unfavorable 
comment: coffles of slaves were not infrequently 
seen crossing the coimtry from northeast to south- 
west, "the men chained together in pairs, and the 

* Chambers, Am. Slavery and Colour^ 207. 

• Dew, in PrO'Slavery Argument, 359-362. 


women carrying the children in btmdles, in their 
march to the South." * Others travelled by steamers 
on the rivers, especially the Ohio, Tennessee, and 
Mississippi. Louisiana and Mississippi were among 
the best markets for slaves in this period, and were 
also on the road to Texas, where many slaves were 
carried after 1845. 
On general principles the federal govenmient had 
V power to regulate the interstate slave-trade, like 
any other interstate commerce; but such action 
was violently opposed by the south. The only legal 
restrictions, therefore, were foimd in state acts pro- 
hibiting importation of slaves for a short term of 
years, or the importation of slaves of bad character, 
or convicts. Just how many slaves were transferred 
from one state to another by this process is hard to 
estimate; the negroes in Mississippi increased from 
32,814 in 1820 to 146,820 in 1840, the greater part 
of whom must have come from outside. The 300,000 
negroes who were in Virginia in 1790 must have had 
almost a million and a half descendants in 1850, of 
whom only 470,000 were left in Virginia. In the 
decade from 1850 to i860 something like 200,000 
left the border states for the lower south.* 
|Closely akin to purchase and sale was the hiring- 
^ A ouFof slaves, which was a transfer of their services 

* Buckingham, Slave States, II., 553 ; cf. Featherstonhaugh, Ex- 
cursion, 46; Sutcliffe, Travels (ed. of 1807), II., 187; Olmsted, 
Texas Journey, 88; Lincoln, Works, I., 52. 

' Collins, Domestic SlavC'Trade, 66. 

i86o] SLAVE-MARKET 131 

for a limited time. Some small slave-owners made 
it a business to hire out all their slaves, both men 
and women, at rates varying from one himdred to 
two hundred dollars a year and board, according 
to the kind of work and skill of the slave. Occa- 
sionally contractors and corporations advertised for 
slaves to be hired out to them. It seems, on the ^ 
whole, to have been a milder form of servitude. ^ 
Slaves hiring their own time found the conditions 
different ; for their object was always to earn some- 
thing more than the stun agreed upon with the 
master, and this was a confession that no presstu^ 
coiild secure from the slave all the labor that he was 
capable of.^ 

A frequent purpose of a slave's hiring out his own 
time was to acctunulate enough to buy his freedom ; 
and good-natured masters often put a moderate 
price upon their chattel for this purpose, or gave to 
the negro opportimities of extra earnings, in sym- 
pathy with his aim. I To buy one's self was a task -^ 
sometimes lasting eignt^r ten years.* It was sub- 
ject to such accidents as the death or forgetfulness 
of the owner; and a case is recorded where a slave 
three times saved money enough for his own free- 
dom, and each time was sold regardless of the agree- 
ment.* As soon as a man was free, he was likely to 

* Buckingham, Slave States, I., 136; Pickard, Kidnapped and 
Ransomed, 209; Hodgson, Letters from North America, I., iii; 
Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 103; Smedes, Memorials of a 
Southern Planter, 104. ' Thompson, Prison Life, 333. 

• Pick8iTd,Kidnapped and Ransomed, 4j ; Goodell, S/ow Code, 247. 


buy his wife and children ; and cases are on recotd 
where a whole family was thus acquired by the 
labor and saving of the head.* 

In anti-slavery days a favorite charity was for 
the friends of a fugitive slave to furnish money for 
his purchase, though some abolitionists had con- 
scientious scruples at purchasing a slave to set him 
free.' Peter Still, a kidnapped freeman who escaped 
from slavery, actually raised five thousand dollars 
for the purchase of his wife and three children by 
going from town to town telling the story of his 
experience in slavery.* 

Most slaves who became free did so by manu- 
mission at the hands of their masters, and were the 
progenitors of the later free negroes. \ The process 
of manumission was always restricted f usually the 
owner must give a preliminary bond to protect the 
commimity against the future support of the slave, 
and mantmiission must follow legal forms; in more 
than one - half of the slave - holding states eman- 
cipated slaves must remove from the state. No 
master could relieve himself from debt or contract 
obligations by freeing slaves, who might be then 
subject to attachment by his creditors.** 

In spite of these restrictions, manimiissions took 

' Bremer, Homes of the New World, I., 363; Thompson, Prison 
Life, 275; Child, Life of Isaac T. Hopper, 176-179. 

'Garrisons, Garrison, III., 210; cf. Olmsted, Seaboard Slave 
States, 15. 

' Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 313-319, 336. 

* Hurd, Law of Freedom and Bondage, chaps, xvii -xix. 

i860] SLAVE-MARKET 133 

place in all the slave states, and were frequent in 
some. The censuses of 1850 and i860 attempted to 
collect statistics on this subject, and the certainly 
incomplete figures show that in 1850 1467 slaves 
were manumitted, being one to every 2 181 slaves; 
in i860, 3018 were manumitted, or one out of every 
1309. In a few cases negroes were set free by the 
states in which they lived, as a reward for public 
services.* JSlaves were occasionally set free by mas- 
ters for some special service or in fulfilment of a 
promise ; and one of the most touching incidents in 
the history of slavery is that of the slave-trading 
speculator who bought Charity Bowery, and then 
said to her: "You've been very good to me and 
fixed me up many a nice little mess when I've been 
poorly; and now you shall have your freedom for 
it and I'll give you your yotmgest child." ' In all 
cases it was common to make an attested statement 
of the circumstances, a copy of which was retained 
by the freeman as his "free papers," a precious pos- 
session which, tmfortimately, could not always pro- 
tect him. Among the slave-holders who set free all 
their slaves in their lifetime was John Jay.* Among 
those who occasionally rewarded deserving cases 
was Henry Clay. 

A more common method of mantmiission was by 
will, for among the slave-holders many distinguished 
and high-minded men, for various reasons, could not 

* Livermore, Historical Research, 195-197. 

' Hart, Source Book, 257. * Roberts, New York, II., 483. 


'^*.^ ■ 


bring themselves to set their slaves free in their own 
lifetime, but at their death set free the whole body ; 
this number included George Washington,* Thomas 
Jefferson, Chancellor Wythe, and Horatio Gates. 
John Randolph in his will said: "I give and be- 
queath to all my slaves their freedom, heartily 
regretting that I have ever been the owner of one " ; ' 
This will was finally confirmed, and three htmdred 
persons were thus set free and colonized in Ohio.* 
Another very interesting case was that of John 
McDonogh, a citizen of New Orleans, who left a 
large fortune for educational purposes, and, during 
his life, made elaborate provisions for the training 
of his slaves, so that they could take care of them- 
selves, and for their transportation to Liberia.'* 

It was a prevailing belief in the south that most 
negroes preferred slavery to freedom ; * the real 
sentiments of the blacks were not easy to reach upon 
this subject, though a few indications are afforded 
by slaves who became confidential with visitors. 
"Why, you see, master,*' said one of them, "... if 
I was free, I'd have all my time to myself, ... I 
would not get poor, I would get rich; for you see, 
master, then I'd work all de time for myself." ^ As 
another slave said : " In the time of the war [of 181 2] 

• Washington, Writings (Sparks's ed.), L, 569. 
' Garland, Rattdolph, II., 150. 

• Life of Benjamin Lundy, 273. 

• Allan, John McDonogh, 44-52, 75. 

• Smedes, Memorials of a Soutliern Planter, 175. 

• Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States , 683. 




all were for liberty. Every ball that was shot was 
for liberty; and I am for liberty too." ^ Some of 
Randolph's slaves returned to Virginia and asked 
to be restored to slavery, perhaps on the principle 
of the Georgia slave who, when asked if he would 
like to be free, replied: "Free, missis! what for me 
wish to be free? Oh no, missis, me no wish to be 
free, if massa only let we keep pig." * 

Undoubtedly there were cases of negroes who 
preferred shelter and support to responsibility ; but V/ 
the whole trend and tenor of the slave codes rested 
upon the well-groimded belief that the normal frame 
of mind of the negro was a desire for freedom ; and 
this belief is supported by the countless instances 
of fugitives who had no better reason to give for 
running away than that obstinate desire to be free 
which the white people coimted among their chief 
claims to the admiration of mankind. 

* Thompson, Prison Life, 297. 
' Kemble, Georgian Plantation^ 48. 



I I^ROM the for^;omg description cxf slavery it is 
1 plain that generalizations are difficult: in some 
places and under some masters it was cruel and 
debasing ; in other commtmities and imder different 
I i)ersonalities it was a patriarchal system, in which 
I master and slave felt themselves members of one 
^ family. There was an opportimity for the south 
I itself to discriminate by making the milder slavery 
the legally approved and almost imiversal type. 
\ (Daw n to 1830 such a spirit was abroad in the 
south ;^ chtm^hes, the missionary societies, and in- 
dividuals urged moderate treatment. Then a differ- 
ent spirit manifested itself : the dentmciation of sla- 
very slacked ; the efforts at amelioration hesitated, 
and eventually ceased ; the former excuses and pleas 
for slavery changed to justification, then to positive 
praise of slavery, then to a state of mind in which 
the admission that any part of its " Peculiar Institu- 

^See chap, zi., below. 


tion" ought to be reformed was regarded as disloyal 
to the south.^ 

The defenders of slavery were many, and made 
up for their lack of literary prestige by the liveliness 
of their feeling. Some foreign visitors, especially 
Sir Charles Lyell, condoned slavery; and some 
northern ministers were enthusiastic champions, es- 
pecially the Reverend Nehemiah Adams, of Boston, 
on the basis of a brief visit to Savannah. Within 
the south the cudgels were taken up for slavery 
by leaders of every kind. The southern clergy- 
men almost without exception defended the system. 
There was hardly a college president or professor 
who wotdd not enter the lists in behalf of slavery, 
and Chancellor Harper, of the College of South 
Carolina, was one of a group of contributors, in- 
cluding Simms, the literary man, Dew, a college 
professor, and Hammond, a public man, who joined 
in a semi-official defence of slavery entitled The 
Pro 'Slavery Argument. State governors, like Mc- 
Duffie, of South Carolina, joined in the conflict, and 
legislatures adopted long, defensive reports. 
' In the discussion the south had a technical ad- 
vanEage in that not a single southern public man 
of large reputation and influence failed to stand by 
slavery; while from the northern ranks some, like 
Webster, stifled their natural objections ; others, like 
Cass, "Northern men with Southern principles," 

* Examples of defence of slavexy, in Hart, Contemporaries, IV., 
ii 25-27. 

\ / 



ranged themselves alongside fheir southern brothecs 
in an open defence of slavery. 
/The first argument in favor of slavery was that 
icwas an institution traceable to the very roots 
and origins of society, "a principal cause of civil- 
ization. Perhaps . . . the sole cause." Aristotle 
recognized and approved slavery; the Romans had 
slavery, and it ¥7as the cause of their prosperity.^ 
The Jews had slavery under a system closely re- 
sembling that of the south. Hagar was a dave, 
'"and the angel of the Lord said unto her. Return 
to thy mistress, and submit thyself tmder her 
hands.**' Against the objection that the mediaeval 
Catholic church was resolute against slavery was 
set the authority of some of the church fathers.* 
Had not England admitted villeinage ? Did not the 
philosopher Locke permit slavery in his model Con- 
stitution for the Carolinas?* That Greece and 
Rome had perished in spite of their system of sla- 
very; that England had for centuries disavowed 
both chattel and villein servitude; that by 1830 all 
Etux>pe, except Russia, had rid itself of serfdom, 
took away the force of this argiunent of precedent, 
which is put forth chiefly by learned and casuistical 

* Harper » in Pro^lavery Argument, 3, 69-72. 

* Genesis, xvi., 9; Exodus, xxi., ao, 21; Hopldns, View of 
Slavery, 74-98; Bledsoe, Liberty and Slavery, chap. iii. 

* Hopkins, View of Slavery, 99-119, 269-275. 

*Ii>id., 262-264, 276-283; Dew, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 312- 


The ai^gument of the authority of the Scriptures v/ 
was fiving, vital, and very effectual; for the Ref- ^ 
ormation habit of referring all cases of moral con- 
duct to the Bible was almost imiversal in the United 
States. The advocates and the opponents of total 
abstinence, of woman's rights, of imprisonment for 
debt, of instrumental music in churches, of theatres, 
dipped into that great sea and fished out "proof- 
texts" which were triimiphantly held to be con- 
clusive. It was tmdeniable that both the Old and 
the New Testament mentioned, legislated on, and 
did not expressly condemn slavery; that though 
the word "slave" appears in but two places in the 
King James version, the word "servant" frequently 
refers to slaves. The Tenth Commandment forbids 
the coveting of "his man-servant, nor his maid- 
servant." The Jews were allowed to buy "bond- 
men and bondmaids. Moreover, of the children of 
the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them 
shall ye buy." "If his master have given him a 
wife, and she have borne him sons or daughters; 
the wife and her children shall be her master's." 
" If a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a 
rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely 
ptmished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day 
or two, he shall not be punished : for he is his mon- 
ey."* In these and some similar passages were 
fotmd Scriptural sanction for the purchase, sale, 
and extreme pimishment of slaves, and even for 

* Exodus, xz., 17, xxi., 4, 20, 21; Leviticus, xxv., 44, 45. 


the separation of faxnilies» in the United States of 

Another Scriptural aigument, a thousand times 
repeated^ goes back to the unseemly behavior of 
Ham, 3^oungest son of Noah and father of Canaan; 
when the old patriarch *' drank of the wine, and was 
drunken." And he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a 
servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 
And he said. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and 
Canaan shall be his servant." ' If Shem was the 
ancestor of the Anglo-Saxons, if Canaan was the 
ancestor of the Africans, was it not a Q. E. D. that 
African slavery was not only allowed, but divinely 
ordained and commanded? In a generation igno- 
rant of any theory of the Aryan race, and still little 
troubled by the damnation of unregenerate infants, 
such a ctirse upon tmbom generations for a technical 
fault of a remote ancestor seemed not tmreasonable. 

The New Testament also contained passages high- 
ly encouraging to the slave-holders, such as, "Let 
every man abide in the same calling wherein he was 
calloi." "Servants, be obedient to them that are 
your masters according to the flesh, with fear and 
trembling, in singleness of yotu: heart, as tmto 
Christ." " Let as many servants as are under the 
yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor." 
And most comfortable of all was St. Paul's appeal 

* Brief summaries of these arguments in Hopkins, View of 
Slavtry, 7-18; Hammond, in Pr<hSlavery Argument, 105-108, 
155-159. '(TfiMUts, ix., iS-a6. 


to Philemon to receive Onesimus (asserted to be a 
fugitive slave), who had "departed for a season, . . . 
not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother 
beloved, specially to me." ^ 

That both Old and New Testaments recognized 
the existence of slavery when they were written, v/ 
and nowhere instituted direct commands against it, 
was absolutely irrefutable; but the anti- slavery 
people quoted Scripture against Scripture. They 
argued that the references to slavery in the Old 
Testament were precisely like those to polygamy; 
and if slavery was justified because of Hagar's 
children, concubinage was equally justified. There 
were also passages in the Old Testament bidding the 
master to set his bondsman free after seven years, 
and against man-stealing. Were not the Jews them- 
selves, after four himdred years of slavery in Egypt, 
conducted into freedom by a divinely appointed 
leader? As for Onesimus, Paul speaks of him as a 
"brother" and a "beloved brother" — ^not a useftd 
comparison for a slave-owner. 

'The most telling cotmter-argtiment was always 
the general spirit of Christ and the apostles. How 
could slavery be made to fit with the injimction, 
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel 
to every creature "; with the appeal to "be kindly 
affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in 
honor preferring one another." * If Abraham was a 

* I Corinthians t vii., 20; Ephesians, vi., 5; i Timothy, vi., i; 
Philemon^ 10-16. * Mark, xvi., 15; Romans, xii., 10. 

▼OL. XVI. — XO 









slave-holder, Christ was not; and His message was 
to the poorest and lowliest of His time. The veiy 
fact that the Christian people of the soutii in general 
admitted that the slaves had souls to be saved or 
lost, that they were admitted to baptism, to church 
membership, even in the white churches, made it 
difiScult to set the negro apart as subject to the 
curses and the admonitions of the Bible, but not 
entitled to its promises, its comforts, or its princi- 
ples of equality in the sig^t of God, that ''no re- 
specter of persons." 

\ ^ Ano ther group of arguments was based upon the 
character of the negro, and led to inconsistencies 
not easy to reconcile. " By what right is it,'* asked 
Chancellor Harper, "that man exercises dominion 
over the beasts of the field? . . . The savage can 
only be tamed by being enslaved or by having 
slaves"; and he proceeds to demonstrate that the 
African negro is, at best, an inferior variety of the 
human race.* This inferiority was at great length 
argued on physical grotmds: the n^fro brain is 
lighter in proportion to his weight; his skin has an 
extra quantity of pigment; he has a long head, 
tmusual proportions, woolly hair; his features are 
brutal; his vocal organs incapable of pronoimcing 
white folks' language ; he has an animal odor — such 
are the argimients repeated by writer after writer.* 
The negro's intellectual inferiority was equally 

* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 13-16. 

* Van Evrie, Negroes and Negro Siatmy, passim. 


set up against him, though few southern writers 
went to the extent of saying "none has given evi- 
dence of an approach to even mediocrity of intel- 
lectual excellence." * That ignorant slaves were 
inferior to educated masters was self-evident; the 
materials were not at hand for so complete a judg- 
ment as to whether they were in all cases inferior 
to ignorant white people; and it was difficult to 
maintain that no person having negro blood was 
capable of intellectual effort. The difficulty with 
the argimient of mental inferiority, as also with 
most of the Scriptural argimients, was that they 
applied equally to inferior white races or to inferior 
members of the Anglo-Saxon race. 

i The literature of the subject is full of descriptions 
of tEe favorable effect of slavery upon the negro : 
slavery brought him out of savagery into the 
elevating influences of civilization, from heathen- 
dom into the light of salvation; it gave him care 
and medical advice in illness, and saved him from 
the mysterious diseases of the jungle.* The negroes 
" are imdergoing the very best education which it is 
possible to give. . . . They are in the course of being 
taught habits of regular and patient industry";' 
slavery brought him into intimate personal rela- 
tions with the white people, and even into warm 
friendships and affections with the master's family. 

* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 56-60. 

* Pollard, Black Diamonds, 81-84. 

* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 95. 

144 SLAVERY Alfl} ABOLITION [1890 

'^Whenl wasaboy/'saysPoUaid, " I esteemed Tom 
to be the best friend I had in the world. ... I had 
a great boyish fondness for him, gave him coppers, 
stole biscuits for him from the table, bought him 
a primer and taught him to read." * 

On good plantations there was indeed little suf- 
fering and much enjoyment. The owner was often 
a patriarch whose counsel and sympathy were freely 
sought by the slaves, to settle their disputes and 
to recondle quarrels. To see the master come back 
was one of the great pleasures in distant and n^- 
lected plantations.' The slaves were free from the 
responsibility of choosing their career or insuring 
their own support. They had to be fed and clothed 
when northern laborers were thrown out of work 
by hard times, and they were cared for in sickness 
and in old age. So much did this happy state of 
things please the slave-holders that sometimes they 
wished it might be extended to the white people. 
•*If some superior power should impose on the 
laboriotis poor of some other country — ^this as their 
unalterable condition — ^you shall be saved from the 
torturing anxiety concerning your own future sup- 
port and that of your children." " 

* Pollard, Black Diamonds, 75; cf. Murray, Letters, 211; Olm- 
sted, Seaboard Slave States, 656-659; Olmsted, Back Country, 
181 ; Child, Freedmen's Book, 114; Smedes, Memorials of a Souths 
em Planter, 76; Bledsoe, Liberty and Slavery, 292-300. 

'Adams, Southside View, 15-19; Simms, in Pro-Slavery Ar» 
gument, 219. 

'Harper and Simms, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 26, 49, 226; 
Adaxns, Southside View, 6z. 


If the ordinary slave was expected to be happy, 
much more the forttmate negroes who were placed 
in positions of responsibility — ^the butler, the family 
cook, the old nurse, beloved and kissed by genera- 
tions of white children — ^people who had the pro- 
fotmdest pride in "our family." These were the 
negroes seen handsomely dressed on the streets of 
the cities, engaging in subscription assemblies, or 
even holding a little property recognized by the 
master as their own.* A few such specially trust- 
ed slaves were actually managers of the master's 
estates, though a white overseer was always present.* 

With regard to the argument of the good of the 
negro, two questions must be asked: were the ne- 
groes really happy ? and how far was happiness an 
evidence that slavery was a good thing for them? 
Upon the first point the evidence is overwhelming 
that many slaves were as well fed and housed as 
the poor whites of the neighborhood, and were tm- 
conscious of serious injustice." Even when torn 
from their kindred and sold to the dreaded "down 
river," the negroes quickly recovered their cheer- 
fulness. When the advocates of slavery insisted 
that their slaves were better off than agricultural 
laborers and factory operatives in England or even 

* Page, The Negro, 1 73-1 81; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 


'Coffin, Reminiscences, 161; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 

425-429, 553-555. 623; Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 43-45- 

' Patdding, Letters front the South, 96-98; Murray, Letters, 263- 
a66; Pollard, Black Diamonds, 41-46. 




in the northern states, they could be contradicted. 
It was a time of misery and degradation in the 
factory population of England, and parliamentary 
inquiries revealed horrors which led to immediate 
reforms of the worst abuses; these evDs served as 
a text for the south, but the reforms were not 

^The condition of the slave, in comparison with 
tti&'ffee labor of the north, may be gauged by two 
lines of evidence : they were certainly no better off 
^ than the poor whites of that day, who were, and 
still are, far inferior in comfort to what the memory 
of man knows to have been the ordinary conditions 
of working-men in the north at that time. This in- 
direct argtiment is confirmed by the testimony of 
Olmsted, a farmer, an employer of labor, and an 
economist, who asserts that hired laborers in the 
north could not be induced to remain a day in the 
conditions of the slaves on the best plantations. 
If the slaves were all happy and contented, it was 
a fair question why they desired to be free. It was, 
after all, an odd kind of happiness which no free 
negro sought, and against which white men would 
have fought to their last breath. 

Perhaps a more candid argument was the good of 
the white man. Slavery caused a larger production 
than could be had by any other form of labor; 
slavery was favorable to the increase of wealth, 

* Hammond, in Pro -Slavery Argument, 135-138; Fitzhtigh, 
Cannibals All. 



partly by emphasizing the sacredness of vested 
property/ partly because slaves, unlike white labor- 
ers, were wealth, exchangeable from hand to hand, 
and partly because slavery favored the accumula- 
tion of capital in a few intelligent hands.* That 
other coimtries and other states were prosperous 
without slavery, and had greater accumulations, 
was neither imderstood nor recognized by the south. 
Certainly the profits of slavery, down to i860, built 
up very few f ortimes, even measured in slaves ; and 
neighboring parts of states of equal fertility, such 
as Kentucky and Ohio, or Maryland and Pennsyl- 
vania, showed a superiority of northern wealth of 
every sort, which is hard to account for on any other 
theory than a better type of labor. Whatever the 
advantages of slavery to the white race, they were 
not shared by the poor whites, who had no part in 
the annual produce of slavery, and for whose educa- 
tion and improvement nothing was spent out of that 
surplus ; while they were exposed to the wide-spread 
contempt for labor with the hands, and to the deg- 
radation brought about by the nearness of a subject 
and immoral race. 

The south was not a mercenary commtmity , and 
was probably more affected by the argument of n/ 
social well-being than by the argument of profit. 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 620-624; ^^ Bow*s Review, 
XXL, 455; Dew, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 385-390. 

' Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 121-123, i^3*. Harper, 
in ibid., 83-85; Bledsoe, Liberty and Slavery, chap. i. 




It was generally believed in the south that slaveiy 
was necessary to relieve the whites from the danger 
of labor in a hot climate, and still more from the 
degradation of manual labor of any kind. Slavery 
also, by its discipline and the out-door habits of ibt 
whites, fostered a military spirit and thus provided 
for the maintenance of order and for future defence. 
Hints were not wanting that the masterful race 
might even organize a n^ro army ofiBceied by white 
men which would be a protection against exterior 


Slavery was also supposed to be favorable to the 
' y manners and breeding of the white race, and it was 
a notable fact that southerners who visited Eng- 
land were commonly received on better terms than 
northern gentlemen,* while in the midst of all that 
was noxious in slavery there bloomed the lovely 
and hardy flower of southern womanhood. The 
seduction of white women was almost unknown in 
a society where black women were so easily accessi- 
ble ; and the whole force of society was brought to 
bear to protect white girls from the dark and earthly 
sides of life. On the plantations the mistresses were 
often springs of botmty, kindness, and genuine affec- 
tion for the slaves. 

The evil effects of slavery on yoimg men even 
southern writers could not deny, for from child- 

* Harper and Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 67, 73, 79, 
iii; Olmsted, Back Country, 386. 
' Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 305. 


hood upward they were exposed to the basest temp- 
tations to temper and to morals.^ A state of things 
in which a boy expected and received the unques- 
tionable obedience of every slave on the plantation 
was not favorable to self-control or moderation. 
The south abotmded in brawls and homicides.* The 
poor whites were often quarrelsome and murderous, 
and even in the highest circles affrays and duels 
were frequent. That slavery was the sole reason 
why so many of the negroes, both male and female, 
were imchaste was a criticism that could not be 
sustained; but that slavery magnified the evil in- 
fluences on the blacks and whites was so self-evident 
that a witness above cavil says: "We may and do 
acknowledge our guilt in the south, but not as slave- 
holders." » 

(Another line of argument was that slavery was* . . 
absolutely necessary for the safety of the whites. A 
The fear of insurrection has been discussed else- 
where.* One of the most frequent arguments in 
favor of slavery was the example of the fitful and 
disturbed republic of Haiti, which was accepted as 
proof positive that the negroes, if set free, would 
never permit their masters to live, and that they 
could not maintain a civilized commtmity of their 

* Rhodes, United States, I., 343; admitted by Harper, in Pro- 
Slavery Argument, 61. 

' Buckingham, Slave States, I., 557. 

' Simms, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 228-230; cf. Martineau's 
chapter on "Morals of Slavery/' in Society in America, I., 106- 
136. ^ See above, chaps, iii., viii. 


own.* Yet this ai^gument was thought cooipatible 
^ with the theory that slavery was a neoessaiy condi- 
tion of a genuine republican government— for the 
masters. Thus Hammond, after paying his re- 
spects to the "nowhere accredited dogma of Mr. 
Jefferson that 'all men are bom equal/" argues 
that in the south the slave-holders ""are both ed- 
ucated and independent in their circumstances^ 
while those who unfortunately are not so [that is, 
the poor whites], being still elevated far above the 
mass, are higher toned and more deeply interest- 
ed in preserving a stable and well-ordered govern- 
ment." ' 
The time even came when slavery was defended, 
^ not as a system that might, by an effort, be ex- 
plained or justified, and still less as an institution 
that must remain simply because it was ineradicable, 
though that argument was sometimes heard.' John 
C. Calhotm said, in his seat in the Senate, February 
6, 1837 : " But let me not be imderstood as admitting 
even by implication that the existing relations be- 
tween the two races in the slave-holding states is an 
evil; — ^far otherwise, I hold it to be a good, as it has 
thus far proved to be to both." * This was the 
theory eventually settled upon by practically the 

* Hopldns, View of Slavery ^ 249-252. 

' Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument, no, in. 

* Richmond Enquirer and Richmond Examiner, quoted in 
Olmsted, Seaboard Slatfe States, 298-300. 

* Calhoun, Works, II., 630. 




entire reasoning south.* From this position the 
corollary naturally followed that so good a system 
ought to be extended into the northern states to 
replace the dangerous and destructive principle of 
political equality and tmiversal suffrage. For ex- 
ample, in 1858, Senator Hammond said of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley: "We own the most of that valley; 
. . . those who have settled above us, are now op- 
posed to us, another generation will tell a different 
tale. They are ours by every law of nature. Sla- 
very will go over every foot of this valley." * An- 
other corollary was that if slavery were endangered 
through the tmion of free and slave-holding states, 
the union must give way. ** Come what may," wrote 
Hammond, in 1845, " we are firmly resolved that oiu* 
system of domestic slavery shall stand." * 



* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 1 7-24; Goodell, Slavery and 
Ami-Slavery, 83; Seabtiry, American Slavery, chap, xviii.; the 
author has under his hand between fifty and a hundred citations 
to the same effect. 

*Cong, Globe., 35 Cong., i Sess., 961. 

* Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 169. 




MOST of the arguments in favor of slavery can 
be traced to the eighteenth century; and two 
centuries before the anti-slavery movement of 1831 
protests had been heard against slavery in America. 
Half a century later the subject was .taken up by 
Richard Baxter, an English devotional author, who, 
in his Christian Directory^ in 1678, declared that "to 
go as pirates and catch up poor n^;toes or peo- 
ple of another land that never forfeited life or 
liberty and to make them slaves and sell them is 
one of the worst kinds of thievery in the world." ' 
As slavery spread through the colonies, these obj^o- 
,K tions became more and more animated both from 
northern and southern men, especially the Quakers, 
who began to make "slave keeping" a reason for 
disfellowship ; their anti-slavery apostle, John Wool- 
man, made it his life-work to go about the country 
and to argue against slavery, because contrary to 
Christianity and because "liberty was the natural 
right of all men equally." * . . 

' Locke, Anti-Slavery, 16. ' Hart, CofUemporaries, II., 305. 


A second line of argument was intensified by the V^ 
American Revolution and its political results. In 
the first draught of the Declaration of Independence 
the slave-trade was styled a " cruel war against hu- 
man natm^ itself, violating its most sacred rights 
of life and liberty." * When the pressing came for 
raising troops for the Revolution, negroes were free- 
ly enlisted, receiving their freedom, and then that of 
their families. The Revolution was also based on a 
lofty assertion of the natural rights of man, phrased 
in such terms as that of the Virginia Declaration of 
Rights, that "all men are by nature free and inde- 
pendent." To be sure, negro slaves were not in the 
minds of those who penned these splendid gener- 
alizations; but it became difficult to explain why 
nature should take accotmt only of white men, espe- 
cially when many negroes were actually enjoying the 
political equality described by those documents. 
(jThe Revolution gave a leverage for the movement .^ 
against slavery by bestowing on the states authority ^ 
over slavery denied while they were colonies. April 
14, 1775, the first anti-slavery society was formed in 
Philadelphia, and at once began to memorialize the 
l^islature of Pennsylvania to set the slaves free. 
Meanwhile two states in the Union uprooted slavery 
— Vermont, in 1777, and Massachusetts, in 1780 — 
both by constitutional provisions, a method initiated 
by New Hampshire in 1783.* The Pennsylvania leg- 

' Jefferson, Works (Washington ed.), I., 23. 

' Bassett, Federalist System {Am, Nation, XI.)» chap. xii. 


islature passed a gradual emancipatioa act in 1780, 
an example followed by Rhode Island and Connecti- 
cut in 1784, and in 1799 and 1804 by New York and 
New Jersey. 

This movementi which several southern states 
screened likely to follow, had an unexpected effect 
upon the Union. As early as Ju]^rx776, Cdogiess 
discovered that northern and southnn members 
were at odds over slavery: one side persisting that 
the n^roes should not be considered as members of 
the state more than cattle; to which a northern 
member replied that in that case they ought not to 
be included in the basis of representation tmder the 
proposed confederation. 

With regard to the western territory, Congress 
three times faced the issue of prohibiting or permit- 
ting slavery. The passage of Jefferson's Ordinance 
of 1784 for gradual emancipation in the western ter- 
ritories was lost for lack of a single vote; Rufus 
King's Ordinance of 1785, which included a clause 
for the return of fugitives, did not come to a vote ; in 
the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Congress, with the 
approval of every member except one New-Yorker, 
made it a matter of f tmdamental compact with the 
people of the northwest that "neither slavery nor 
involtmtaiy servitude shall be permitted except for 
the punishment of crime whereof the party shall 
have been duly convicted." * 

* McLaughlin, Confederation and Constitution (Am. Nation, X.) 
chaps, vii., viii. 


By this ordinance, which practically extended 
westward the status of freedom resulting from state 
enactments in the east, the Union was practically 
divided into two belts, a northern free area and a 
southern slave-holding region. Inasmuch as the ex- 
pectation was that the southern territories would 
share the fortimes of the southeastern states, the 
eleven years between the first rising of the slavery 
question in Congress and the Northwest Ordinance 
marks the separation of the newly created union into 
two well-defined and sharply contrasted sections. 

The rivalry and jealousy between those two sec- 
tions was clearly revealed in the work of the federal 
convention of 1787. It led to the "federal ratio" 
for the House of Representatives, which was a sec- 
tional compromise on the slave-trade. South Caro- 
lina threatened to break up the whole plan, and the 
convention was obliged to postpone that power for 
twenty years. The existence of free states made 
necessary a clause for the delivery of "fugitives 
from service or labor" who might escape from one 
state into another. In addition. Congress received 
power over the territories, over the seat of govern- 
ment, and over interstate commerce; and a provi- 
sion for giving to citizens of one state " all privileges 
and immimities of citizens in the several states" 
included some negroes. On the whole, the conven- 
tion dealt wisely with the slavery question in not 
committing the new federal government to a policy 
upon what seemed a declining institution. 


/ In the ofganizatioa of the gofvenunent no serious- 
ly contested questions arose out of slaveiy. The 
Northwest Ordinance was, without opposition, xe- 
enacted in 1789; and the next year the territoiy 
south of the Ohio River (Tennessee) was oiganized 
with the purposeful omission of any restrictbn on 
slavery; for the District of Colunibia an act of 
Congress of 1801 simply re-enacted the existing 
Maryland statutes in the part north of the Poto- 
mac, and the Virginia statutes in the part across the 
river, thus making a slave code without mention- 
ing slavery.* In 1793 Congress accepted federal re- 
sponsibility for the capture of fugitives by passing 
a fugitive-slave act,' and a strong public sentiment, 
shared by the border slave states, led to a succes- 
sion of minor statutes regulating the trade. Congress 
re-enacted the Ordinance of 1787 for the successive 
territories — Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wiscon- 
sin — carved out of the Northwest Territory, and re- 
sisted the repeated efforts, between 1796 and 1811, 
to repeal that ordinance for the Indiana Territory, 
which then extended to the Mississippi; so that 
both Indiana and Illinois were admitted into the 
Union on anti- slavery constitutions. In the Mis- 
souri Compromise of 1820, Congress reiterated its 
right to prohibit slavery in any territoiy at its 
The distinct anti-slavery spirit of Congress was a 

* Tiemain, Slavery in the District of Colutkbia, 11-14. 

* Bassett, Federalist System (Am, NaHau, XI.). 1S7-189. 


reflex of a powerful, movement which showed itself 
in pamphlets, public addresses, organized societies, 
anti-slavery journals, and a few acts of state legis- 
latures, and was encouraged by the contemporary 
fight against the British slave-trade. It was dis- 
couraged by the first instance of an emancipated 
colony in America. The island of Haiti was the 
seat of a sugar industry employing about six him- 
dred thousand slaves and busying eight htmdred 
vessels. A civil war between the whites and the 
free negroes led to a slave insurrection in 1791. 
The English invaded the island in 1793, and the 
French authorities, to whom the Spanish end of the 
island was ceded in 1795, declared the slaves free.* 
Haiti was for a time blotted out of political life, and 
emerged in 180 1 with a negro government. Hun- 
dreds of refugees reached the United States, and 
specific point was given to their warnings, in 1800, 
by an insurrection planned by a negro named Ga- 
briel, in Henrico Coimty, Virginia. 

"It is evident," said a contemporary, "that the 
French principles of liberty and equality have been 
effused into the minds of the negroes." * Before 
the insurrection could be consummated, Gabriel was 
betrayed, arrested, duly tried, and convicted, and, 
four days afterwards, executed. The outbreak in- 
creased both the American and English objections 
to the slave-trade ; and twenty-three days after the 

* Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 1 71-178. 

* Higginson, Travellers and Outlaws, 197. 

▼OL. XVI.— XX 


United State^act of 1807, Pailiaxnent, led by Gaik- 
son and Wilb^foice, absolutely prohibited the slave- 
trade ettfaer by English subjects or to En^^lish colo- 
nies; the two statutes seemed to strike hands for 
the destruction of the tra£Sc and for the assertion 
of the principle that it was iniquitous to buy and 
sell Africans. Congress enacted in 1819 that slaves 
taken in transit should be returned in freedom to 
Africa; and in xSao declared the slave-trade to be 
piracy, which made the trader liable to the' penalty 
of death. 
/This work accomplished, the hostility to slavery 
^ becSnie a distinct propaganda, which took on three 
X different forms : an attempt through churches and 

other existing means to arouse public sentiment; 
"^ an organized emancipation agitation directed by 
a national society ; and colonization. Unlike later 
abolition, this whole movement was carried on by 
people who lived in or adjoining the slave-holding 
states, who worked upon their own legislatures and 
were able to reach the slave-holders with their 
literature. Thus James G. Bimey set himself with 
success to securing acts of the Alabama legislature 
for the more htmiane treatment of slaves, and Will- 
iam Swaim freely published anti-slavery articles in 
North Carolina.* 

By far the most interesting figure in this move- 
ment is Benjamin Ltmdy, bom a New Jersey Quaker, 
but later a resident of several slave states. In 181 5 

> Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery, 240. 


he began to organize anti-slavery societies, some of 
them in southern states; in 1821 he fotmded an . 
abolition paper, The Genius of Universal Emancipa- 
tion. He was sure that the open discussion of sla- 
very would bring about its downfall, and he made 
many long journeys through the southern states to 
gather experience and to preach his doctrines. In 
1828 a journeyman printer, named William Lloyd 
Garrison, fell in with Limdy in Boston, and said of 
him afterwards: "His heart is of a gigantic size. 
Every inch of him is alive with power. . . . Within 
a few months he has travelled about twenty-four 
htmdred miles, of which upwards of sixteen htmdred 
were performed on foot/ during which time he has 
held nearly fifty public meetings." * 

Several other anti- slavery papers appeared be- 
tween 1815 and 1829, especially The Philanthropist^ 
published in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and The Freeman* s 
Journal, published by a negro in New York City; 
and there is a literature of formal books attacking 
slavery, most of them by members of slave-holding 
families. Thus John Rankin preached and wrote 
against slavery in Kentucky, and then settled in 
Ohio, where he published a volume of Letters on 
Slavery, which became a sort of text-book for abo- 
litionists. Another group was made up of middle- 
states men, who argued against slavery on general 
principles — among them William Rawle, a re- 
nowned constitutional lawyer, and Isaac T. Hop- 

' Garrisons, Garrison, I., 9a. 


per, for fifty seven years a public opponent of 

Upon such moral questions the best way of con- 
centrating public opinion was through the state and 
national assemblies of the great churches. In 2812 
the Methodist General Conference voted that no 
slave-holder could continue as a local elder. The 
Presbyterian General Assembly in 28x5 urged that 
the slaves be educated, as a step towaxxls emanci- 
pation, and in iSiH unanimously resolved that 
slavery was **a gross violation of the most precious 
and moral rights of htmian nature, as utterly in- 
consistent witii the law of God . . . and as totally 
irreconcilable with the spirit and principles of the 
gospel of Christ." * Some of the Baptist churches 
withdrew from their loose general organization be- 
cause of a lack of testimony against slavery ; and a 
few separate congregations refused to admit to 
Christian brotherhood any holder of slaves. The 
Quakers were, as always, the most constant and 
resolute opponents of slavery. 
[The anti-slavery agitators were among the first 
to discover the usefulness of organized societies, 
encouraging each other, spreading information and 
arguments from community to community, and 
combining in a national convention. The Pennsyl- 
vania Society continued tmbroken existence from 
1775. By 1808 societies had appeared in New 
Jersey, Kentucky, and New York; in Delaware, in 

> Niks' Register, XVI., Supl., p. 153. 



1809; in Tennessee, in 181 4; in Ohio and North 
Carolina, in 181 6; in Maryland, in 181 7 ; in Virginia, 
in 1823. The total number of local societies under 
the labors of Ltindy and others increased towards 
1830 to upward of one hundred, representing every 
state in the Union except only New England, the 
extreme southern states, and Indiana. Such socie- 
ties held meetings, issued addresses, memorialized 
legislatures, protected negroes, and sustained anti- 
slavery publications. 

The strongest anti-slavery force was the organiza- 
tion first called the " American Convention of Dele- 
gates from Abolition Societies," but after 1818 "The 
American Convention for Promoting the Abolition of A 
Slavery and Improving the Condition of the African 
Race." * From 1794 to 1806 the convention met 
annually; then every three years till 181 5; there- 
after, at least as often as once in two years. The 
local societies were all free to send delegates, but 
after 1809 none came from beyond North Carolina 
and Tennessee. The middle states furnished about 
half the delegates ; the other half came from the six 
southern states lying nearest to the border. 

The convention was an active and forth-putting 
body: it heard reports on the condition of the re- 
form; its minutes were published and distributed; 
it bought, encouraged, and sent out anti- slavery 

* For details with regard to this and the local societies I am 
indebted to an unpublished monograph by Alice Dana Adams, 
Anti-Slavery, 1808-1831 — a Study of a Neglected Period. 


publications and its own resolutions; it addressed 
petitions to state l^islatures and to Congress. No 
phase €i slavery was left out of its discussions. The 
convention uxged the education (d slaves and their 
training to take care of themselves, so that they 
might safely be set free. It tried to create public 
sentiment against slavery in the District of Colum- 
bia, and memorialized Congress to abolish it there 
and also in the territory of Florida. It kept the 
discussion alive and did something to arouse the 
public conscience of the south; but the meetings 
grew less vigorous, till in the last convention of 1829 
only seven societies were represented, and of those 
only two were from the south. 
This decay of the American Convention was due 
/> V to the rise of cotton culture, which made slavery 
profitable, and to the counter - movement of the 
American Colonization Society. The idea of carry- 
ing the negroes out of the country can be traced 
back to Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, in 1784. In 
1 816 was formed "The American Society for the 
Colonization of the Free People of Color of the 
United States," tmder the presidency of Judge 
Bushrod Washington, subsequently of Henry Clay. 
It fotmded an organ called The African Repository, 
and raised money to send out agents to Africa, in 
18 1 8, to select a site for a colony. Great impetus 
was given to the movement in 1819 when Con- 
gress passed an act providing that negroes captured 
while being illegally imported into the United States 


should be returned to Africa, and appropriating one 
hundred thousand dollars, which was intended to be 
used by the new society. 

A new reason for the movement was furnished in 
iK^Tat Charleston, by Denmark Vesey, a free negro, 
who made an elaborate plot to rise, massacre the 
white population, seize the shipping in the harbor, 
and, if hard pressed, to sail away to the West Indies. 
One of the negroes gave evidence, Vesey was seized, 
duly tried, and, with thirty-four others, was hanged. 
The desperate plan was so nearly successful that it 
left an ineradicable distrust of the free negroes and 
a desire to get them out of the cotmtry.* 

Backed up by the approving resolutions of several 
state legislatures, north and south, by a small ap- 
propriation from Virginia, and a much larger one 
from Maryland — which went, however, to a separate 
state society — supported by many state axixiliary 
societies, and with the national government in the 
backgrotmd, the Colonization Society proceeded to 
plant its colony. In 1820 eighty-six negroes were 
sent to Africa, and in 1822 a settlement was made 
on the west coast to which the name of Liberia was 
later given. These powerful influences, however, 
were not sufficient to overcome distance, malaria, 
savage neighbors, and a tropical climate. In the 
ten years from 1820 to 1830, with an expenditure 
of one htmdred thousand dollars, the society was 

^Niles* Register, XXII., 320; Higginson, Travellers and Out- 
laws, 215-275. 


aide to transfer onfy ii6a peopK >I1 but tvolmn- 
dred from the coast bolder states; of tfane the 
neater part died witiiia a few yean after landing.' 
/[ Till 1830 there seems to have been no notion Hiat 
^ wmSy was a subject which must not be dispnusBd 
in CoogiesB, and a variety of national and interna^ 
tiiKial questions brought it up. Gootzaiy to a danse 
in the peace of Ghent of 1814. tbe retiring Britidb 
earned away sereial hundred slaves,. in behalf cC 
whose owners t^ federal government at ooce de- 
manded comptttiaatkin, and eventoalljr the British 
govenmient paid twelve hundred thousand dollais. 
Havii^ prohibited the slave-trade to their own colo- 
nies, it became the interest of the British govern- 
ment to stop it to other American colcmies, and 
treaties were made with Denmark, Holland, Spain, 
and Portugal to that effect. By the treaty of 1814 
the United States agreed to "use their best en- 
deavors" to brir^ about a general abolition of the 
detested trade, a promise which slumbered for some 
years; but in 1824 John Quincy Adams negotiated 
, a treaty giving to British cruisers the r^ht, which 
/\ was absolutely necessary if the trade were to be 
stamped out, to search American vessels et^aged in 
the trade. The Senate threw over the treaty on a 
technicality, and it was eighteen years before the 
two parties again came together on the question.' 
After 1825 the southern leaders in Congress began 

' Am. Colonization Soc,, Fiftieth Animal R»port, 64, 65; Mo 
Pbenon, Libtria, passim. ' See below, chi^. six. 


to grow more nervous. In 1826 they objected to 
sending delegates to the Panama Congress because 
the negro republic of Haiti was to be invited, and 
the meeting might lead to an insurrection in Cuba; 
for the freeing of slaves so near our coast was 
thought likely to be a dangerous object-lesson for 
the southern slaves. The abolitionists opened up a 
good point of attack against slavery in the District 
of Coltunbia, where the three mtmicipalities of Wash- 
ington, Georgetown, and Alexandria made a series 
of local ordinances for the discipline of the negroes, 
and the law of the District permitted negroes who 
could not give an account of themselves to be sold 
for their jail-fees. About 1828, Miner, of Pennsyl- 
vania, made himself the leader in the movement, 
introducing petitions and bills for gradual emanci- 
pation in the District, which the legislature of Penn- 
sylvania instructed its senators to vote for; and a 
petition from the District was presented with a thou- 
sand signatures. The number of slaves in the Dis- 
trict in 1830 was only 6060, and slavery might easily 
have been extinguished ; but the south was awake to 
the moral effect of such action, and Congress ignored 
the movement. V 

When Jackson became president, in 1829, anti- v 
slavery seemed, after fifty years of effort, to have ^ 
spent its force. The voice of the churches was no 
longer heard in protest; the abolitionist societies 
were dying out; there was hardly an abolitionist 
militant in the field; the Colonization Society ab- 




soibed most of the public interest in the subject, and 
it was doing nothing to help either the free negxo or 
the slave; in Congress there was only one anti- 
slavery man, and his efforts were without avail. 
It was a gloomy time for the little band of people 
who believed that slavery was poisonous to the 
south, hurtful to the nortih, and dangerous to the 
Union. ^0&tUm^ialgi^iimf0^4i^fk^xmmmtomi^gSt^^ 
\^e aiguments against slavery during this period 
were substantially the san:ie as those used by the 
later abolitionists, and turned mainly on natural 
right, Christianity, humanity, the bad effects on the 
southern whites, and the injtiry toUiFWhoIe Union. 
The argument of natural right was in accord with 
the text of all the slave-state constitutions and of 
the principles of government in the south. If there 
were any "inalienable" rights, property in man was 
inti;>ossible ; to exclude negroes from the principles 
of the Declaration of Independence they must be 
looked on as something else than men;* and, there- 
fore, pro -slavery writers sometimes abjiued the 
Declaration of Independence as false and unthink- 
able.* Human rights were expanding both in con- 
tent and extent: Anglo-Saxons were being relieved 
from the arbitrary control of employers and jailers, 
and the alien was admitted to both the old and the 
new privileges. To hold that men could be excluded 
from the beneficent principles of free government 

* Cbanning, Works , II., 17-50. 
' Hopkins, View of Slavery, 19-29. 


because they were inferior to other men was a doc- 
trine which struck at the basis of free government 
in America. 

The anti-slavery argument from Christianity ap- 
pealed to the principles of Christianity. Who was 
to shut the negro out from the Golden Rule, from 
the glorious message of the gospel, from the build- 
ing-up of his own character through the grace of 
God ? It was hard to escape from the dilemma that 
if the negro was a hopeless pagan, incapable of civili- 
zation and of the Christian virtues, his presence was 
an unspeakable curse to the community ; and if he 
was a man who could respond to the divine truths, 
who made the white man his keeper ? * 

Africa might perhaps be held responsible for the 
low morals of the slave ; but it was a fair argument 
that slavery denied both Christianity and civiliza- 
tion when it broke up families. To say that negroes 
"are themselves both perverse and comparatively 
indifferent about this matter, . . . the negroes form- 
ing those connections, knowing the chances of their 
premature dissolution,'* was to admit the damaging 
charge that slave life paralyzed the natural family 
instincts even of the savage.' 

The cruelty of slavery was also an unfailing argu- 
ment; from the southern newspapers themselves, 
from every-day advertisements, from the reports of 

* Cheever, Guilt of Slavery, passim. 

* Channing, Wof/f^, I.,4i, II., 69-72; Hammond, in Pro-Slavery 
Argument, 132. 


travellers, incidents could be gleaned which sickened 
and appalled the reader. The rejoinder that cruelties 
occurred constantly in northern institutions, such as 
jails, poor-houses, and orphan - asylums, was not 
conclusive; in the northern states public sentiment 
was watchful, and nobody felt that the whipping of 
defenceless people was necessary for the preservation 
of society. 

Anti-slavery people took exceptions to the re- 
strictions, legal and practical, on the intellectual 
improvement of the negro, and to the cynical de- 
fences of those restrictions.* 

The anti-slavery argtmient covered not only the 
slaves, but the white men. It criticised the imperi- 
ousness of the master, the demoralizing effect of the 
relations of the sexes, the setting-up of the great 
slave-holding families as the head of social and 
political life, the effect on the poor whites of the 
degradation of labor. In the national government 
the influence of the great slave-holders was para- 
moimt during the whole period from 181 5 to i860. 
Of the five northern presidents — ^John Quincy Ad- 
ams, Van Buren, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan — 
not one stood against the pro-slavery men while in 
office. No recognized abolitionist and few out-and- 
out anti-slavery men, after 1840, were appointed to a 
foreign mission or a consulate, or a collectorate or 
important postmastcrship, or to the federal bench. 
In Congress, the southerners, by their abilities, their 

'See Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 51. 


long terms of service, their habit of standing to- 
gether, and their success in holding a part of the 
northern men, ahnost always had their will. 

The most telling argument against slavery in the : 
long-run was that it did not pay. Inasmuch as it V^ 
did pay some people, as the wealth of the south in- 
creased from decade to decade, it was hard to make 
anybody believe that slavery was really a drain on 
the commimity.* The census of 1850, the accumu- 
lated materials in journals like Niles' Register and 
De Bow's Review^ and the criticisms of Olmsted 
brought out the fact that the south was gaining 
wealth slowly, and that in value of land, value of 
crops, value of buildings, miles of railroad, and 
extent of shipping, and also in schools, journals, 
and other evidences of intellectual growth, had 
fallen behind the rest of the Union. The anti- 
slavery people were sure that the only reason was 
that the north had free labor and the south had 
slave labor. The experience of the last forty years \ 
has shown that slavery was not a complete explana- 
tion. The negro could not be made as efficient as 
the intelligent, well-rewarded, and productive labor 
of the north simply by setting him free. The south 
was equally mistaken in insisting that slavery was 
the only thing that made the negro efficient ; it was 
clinging to a cast-iron and rigid system which Amer- 
ica had outgrown. 

* Buckingham, Slave States, I., 301-304, 399*404. 




T 11 THY did the anti-slavery movement, which had 
Y Y been going on steadily for half a century, ^>- 
parently die down in 1829 and then suddenly blase 
up with renewed fierceness? /One reason was that 
Vie western world was growingSml of human bond- 
^age: the last vestige of serfdom was disappearing 
in central Europe, and the same spirit extended to 
the European colonies in America. The influence 
of the Latin - American revolutions was against 
slavery. Bolivar emancipated his own slaves, and 
in 1821 secured a general emancipation in New 
Granada/ which was followed by all the Latin- 
American powers except Brazil. The influence 
spread to the West Indies, where slavery had long 
since ceased to exist in Haiti; and in 1848 it was 
abolished in the French islands by the home gov- 
ernment. Spain was soon the only power that 
retained slavery in the West Indian islands. 

For a powerful movement was working against 

*Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 169; Genius of Universal 
EmancifHUion, VII., 12. 


slavery in Jamaica and the other British West 
Indies. The prohibition of the British slave-trade 
in 1807 was made effective by a large and active 
British navy. Then, in 1823, was formed a "So- 
ciety for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of 
Slavery throughout the British Dominions," in 
which appeared as leaders Buxton, Clarkson, and 
Wilberforce. They urged with tmrelenting vigor 
two principles destructive of slavery : one that colo- 
nial slavery was contrary to the spirit of the British ^ 
Constitution; and the other that the remedy was 
immediate emancipation.* Under the stimulus of a 
parliamentary agitation, fed by petitions and pub- 
lic meetings, and by an anti-slavery journal. Par- 
liament passed an emancipation act in 1833, ^Y 
which colonial slavery was to be gradually extin- 
guished in seven years, with a compensation of 
twenty million pounds to the owners. The two pre- 
dictions, that the negro would sit down and die rather 
than turn his hand to earning his living, and that 
the blacks and the whites would be drawn into 
a war of mutual extermination, were both set at 
naught. For a time the freedmen took a holiday, 
and the sugar plantations of Jamaica never recovered 
their importance; but the negroes finally settled 
down as peaceful small proprietors.* This experi- 

* Hopkins, View of Slavery, 258; Goodell, Slavery and Anti- 
Slavery, 353-35^' 

* Child, Letters from New York, 2d series, 101-103; Channing, 
Works, VI., 9-41 ; Cochin, Results of Emancipation. 



ment, so near cmr shores, so conteity to tlie aigu- 
ments and pleas of our slave-holders, could not but 
affect public sentiment in the United States. 
^ (The rise of abolition was coincident with a change 
\y \^ in £e attitude of the piiblic mind towanls the weak 
and the helpless, which was shown in reforms in the 
treatment of paupers, convicts, and the insane, and 
in the beginnings of public provision for tiie training 
of the blind, deaf and dumb, imbeciles, and other 
defective perscms. This sense of public responsibil- 
ity was as much needed in the south as at the north; 
but, partiy because of a sparse agricultural popula- 
tion, partly because of an unconquerable frontier 
rudeness, the south was much less affected by these 
reforms than the northern commtmities; and the 
presence of an inferior and servile race which had to 
b^keptimder.workedagainst the humanitarian spirit. 
! Slavery was also imf avorably affected by the sud- 
' deiTopening-up of new fields of economic activity. 
The development of manufactures, the growth of 
large cities, the exchange of products far and wide, 
called for a kind of labor which was unsuited to 
slavery, and for a kind of laborer who instinctively 
felt that the slave was a competitor. On its side, 
the south, which in the nullification contest reacted 
into a type of state rights which had been decried 
in that section since Jefferson came to power in i8oi, 
also reacted from an open discussion of slavery to an 
intense hostility towards anti-slavery within its own 
limits or anywhere else. 


In 1 830 there was little conscious anti-slavery feel- ^ 
ing in either section. The few agitators, of whom A 
Benjamin Lundy was the chief, were in despair at 
the apathy of the north. Even the seizure of two 
fugitive slaves in Boston in 1830, one of them a 
woman, raised not a ripple of excitement in New 
England. The people who felt an interest in the 
subject went, with few exceptions, no further than 
anti-slavery — that is, they believed that slavery was 
wrong and dangerous, and wished to see a period 
put to its extension and to its ill effects upon society. 
Such men, on the northern side, were Benjamin 
Franklin, John Adams, and Taylor and Talmadge 
in their attempts to prevent slavery from going into 
Missouri.* Such men were eager to be rid of slavery 
in their own commtmity, and deprecated it wherever 
it existed, not so much out of sympathy with'thtj 
oppressed negro, as from the belief that slavery was 
an injiuy to their own neighbors and constituents, 
and that the influence of the slave power in national 
affairs was harmful. Most of the northern anti-. y 
slavery people disclaimed any intention of interfer-/\ 
ing with slavery in the southern states, but they 
instinctively disliked any project for enlarging the 
boundaries of slave-holding territory: their princi- 
ple was that slavery and the slave-holding power 
should remain where they were. 

Very different in their outlook were the abolition- \/ 
ists, a term already made familiar by such agitators /\ 

* Turner, New West {Am. Nation, XIV.), chap. x. 

▼OL. XVI.— XI 


as Rankin and Ltrndy. Their objectioii was xtctoiily 
to slavery in the abstract, but to ooociete slavery, as 
they saw it in their own communities or in neigUbor- 
ihg parts of the country. Every abolitionist was an 
y anti-slavery man, but he went far beyond the ordi- 
A nary anti-slavery standards: he was heart and soul 
opposed to slavery as it existed ; he was bent on per* 
suading or coercing the master to give up his au- 
thority; he had in mind, not a distant pplitical and 
sectional influence, but the blows of the overseer 
and the tears of the slave. He wished to get rid of 
slavery speedily, root and branch, cost what it 
might, suflfer who must, for the salvation of the 
souls of the masters, for the preservation of the 
Union, for the rights of man, for the love of Christ. 
The true abolitionist ignored all difficulties and 
scoffed at the idea that there could be vested right 
in the person of man and woman. His ears were 
deaf to appeals to the authority of ancient custom, 
of state laws, of the guarantees of the federal Con- 
stitution. The abolitionist's creed was, give up 
your unblessed property, forsake yotu* evil habits, 
change your laws, alter the Constitution. 
^ Ant i-slavery was a negative force, an attempt to 
wall in an obnoxious system of labor so that it 
might die of itself; abolition was a positive force, 
founded on moral considerations, stoutly denying 
that slavery could be a good thing for anybody, 
and perfectly willing to see the social and economic 
system of the south disrupted. As time went on, 


the anti- slavery and abolition movements in the 
north came closer together and sometimes joined, 
forces, partly through the appearance of political 
abolitionists like Salmon P. Chase and Charles Sum* 
ner, who built up a little anti - slavery party and 
secured the support of thousands of men who were 
never conscious abolitionists; and partly by the 
warming-up of the anti-slavery people, as the contest 
grew fiercer, to a belief that abolition might, after 
all, be the only way to stop the advance of slavery. 
Yet two such conspicuous champions of anti-slavery 
as John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln al- 
ways said that they were not abolitionists. In the 
heat of the fray southern leaders and speakers got 
into the habit of calling everybody "abolitionist" 
who was in any degree opposed to slavery; but the 
distinction was clear enough, all the way down to 
the Civil War.^ 

Abolition, in its extreme form, could not exist in 
the south, because, after 1830, public sentiment 
would not permit such aggressive attacks on the 
property and character of the leaders of the com- 
mimity; but in several parts of the border states 
anti-slavery men continued to live and even to 
agitate, and for some years feeble efforts at a 
gradual emancipation were permitted. To the last, 
in private conversation, slave-holders and free farm- 
ers occasionally admitted that slavery was a bad 

'On abolition in general, see Hart, Contemporaries, {{ 17a- 


thing for the south,* and as late as 1850, in the 
University of Virginia, a student criticised slavery 
in a public address.* 

In North Carolina, where a strong Quaker influ- 
ence against negro slavery never quite expired, ia 
1832, Judge William Gaston, in an address at the 
State University, called upon the students to aid in 
the "extirpation" of slavery, because "it stifles 
industry and represses enterprise . . . and poisons 
morals at the fotmtain-head." * Daniel R. Goodloe, 
in 1 84 1, published an Inquiry, which was one of 
the first searching economic arguments against sla- 
very;^ and as late as 1857, Hinton R. Helper, of 
that state, published an appeal to the poor whites/ 
\ In Virginia the anti-slavery feeling was intensified 
' by the Nat Turner Insurrection of 1831, which led 
the Richmond Enquirer to say : " Something must be 
done, and it is the part of no honest man to deny it 
— of no free press to aff*cct to conceal it/' When the 
legislature next met, in a debate of many days the 
strongest opinions were expressed against slaver\% 
especially by members from the mountain counties, 
though a lowland member said: "Slaver}^ in Vir- 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 675; Olmsted, Back Country, 
177-186, 270-272. 

* Bremer, Homes of the Xeiu World, II., 188-193. 52Q-531; 
Kemble, Georgian Plantation, 77. 

' Gaston, Address delivered before the Dialectic and Philan- 
thropic Societies. 

* Weeks, in Southern Hist. Assoc, Publications, II., No. 2, 


* See Chadwick, Causes of the Civil War (Am. Xation, XIX.). 


ginia is an evil, and a transcendent evil — sl mildew 
which blights in its cotirse every region which it has 
touched from the creation of the world." And an- 
other member from a slave-holding county charged 
that " slavery has interfered with our means of enjoy- 
ing life, liberty, property, happiness, and safety." * 

A curious delusion, oft -repeated with regard to 
this debate, is that a bill to abolish slavery in Vir- 
ginia failed in the general assembly by only one 
vote, and that vote the casting vote of the speaker.' 
It is true that four different times within four years 
the representatives of Virginia carefully discussed 
certain phases of slavery in that state. The first 
was the constitutional convention of 1829-1830, in 
which no proposition was made looking to emanci- 
pation ; the burning question was whether the low- 
land slave-holding coimties should continue in the 
enjoyment of a larger representation in proportion to 
the whites than the people of the moimtain cotmties. 
The lowlanders triumphed on a tie vote, the presid- 
ing officer of the convention casting his vote on their 
side.' In the legislative session of 1830- 1 831 a 
proposition for the more rigorous restriction of free 
negroes was voted down by 58 to 59, but subse- 
quently passed.* In the next session, after the Nat 

* Goodloe, Southern Platform , 42-54. 
' Page. The Negro, 235. 

* Proceedings and Debates of the Virginia State Convention of 
182Q-18JO, passim. 

* Journals of the House of Delegates, 1829, pp. 30, 74, 139, 156, 
157, 176, 187; Journals of the Senate, 129, 130, 135. 


Turner insurrection, came the debafe from which 
extracts are quoted above ; petitions were presentedt 
respectfully received, and referred, asking for an 
emancipation act, but a test vote on the proposi* 
tion to submit to a popular vote the question of 
whether such an act should be passed was defeated, 
January 25, 1832, by $8 to 73, and the only vote 
on a n^;ro question was on a bill for removing free 
n^^roes from the state.^ In not one of these four 
sessions was emancipation squarely faced, though 
there were several narrow votes on other ques- 
tions of slavery, the nearest approach to action 
being a proposition, voted down by a considerable 
majority, to take the sense of the people on a side 

Two out-and-out Kentucky abolitionists stood to 
theifguns to the end. John G. Fee, who founded a 
little college at Berea for the education of the neigh- 
boring mountain whites, and Cassius M. Clay, of 
Kentucky, a cousin of Henry Clay, who in 1833 
set his own slaves free and remained throughout a 
long life a persistent opponent of slavery. His two 
avowed principles were: " I proudly aver myself the 
eternal enemy of slavery, and Kentucky must be 
free." He even published, at Lexington, an anti- 
slavery paper, The True American, and remained 

' Journals of tJte House of Delegates, 1831-1832. pp. 15, 29. 93, 
95. 99. io9» iio; Senate Journal, no, 112, 134. 136, 137. 157. 
158; Journal of the House of Delegates, 1832-1833. pp. 168, 
222, 227; Senate Journal, 168-170. 


an impassioned ally of the northern abolitionists.* 
Some people in the thirties still expected that Ken- 
tucky would emancipate its slaves, and even formed 
a new Kentucky Anti-Slavery Society as an auxiliary 
of the general anti-slavery society.* 

\By far the most effective southern abolitionists 1^. 
were those who shook the dust from off their feet V 
and left the south because they cotild not bear to 
live in the midst of slavery. Angelina and Sarah 
Grimk6, members of a Huguenot family in Charles- 
ton, became so convinced of the iniquity of slavery 
that they came north, published appeals to the 
women of the south, and were among the earliest 
women speakers at abolition meetings.* James G. 
Bimey, an Alabama planter, came north to learn the 
meaning of the anti-slavery movement, connected 
himself with a colonization society, and then, about 
1834, became an abolitionist and moved to the 
north. -• Another group of eager young southern 
abolitionists included James A. Thome, who be- 
came a minister in a Cleveland church, and Asa 
Mahan, who became president of Oberlin College. 

Nearly all these men joined themselves to an 
abolition movement which they found in full action 

> Garrisons, Garrison, III.. 379-382; Olmsted, Texas Journey, 
12; Bremer, Homes of the New World, II.. 106-108; Von Hoist, 
United States, III.. 1 18-127. 

* Stuart, North America, II., 184; Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 

•C. H. Birney, Sarah and Angelina Grimki; May. Recotlec- 
tions, 232-236. * W. Bimey, James G. Birney, passim. 

/ \ 


in the north, the oiginator d iriiich was taidotdited- 
I7 Benjamin Lundy, who coDtinoed his agitatkio 
after 1830 to his Aeatk in 1838.* (Tohim mast ai- 
rways be ascribed the credit of beiqg'^ first aboli- 
/TOnust journalist and the first Unk in a duiin oi 
impulse to v4iidi nearly aU the other abcditiaDists 
traced thdr beginnings. From his first meeting with 
Garrison, in i8a8, he had adiscq^ greater than his 
master, and himsdlf to become an ^x)Btle.^j)yf[.pPjj7/;j( 

That William Uoyd Garrison, young, frienobess, /\ j 
without especial literary ot fonosic training, should 
have made himself one of the most widely known 
men of his time, should have established a cele- 
brated newspaper, and should have been the reputed 
head of a moral movement which convulsed the 
whole country, is a high tribute to his abilities and 
character. Returning northward from Baltimore 
in 1830, he conceived the idea of founding a news- 
paper of his own, and the first number of the 
Liberator appeared January i, 1831, in Boston, the 
very paper on which it was printed bought on credit, 
and the type set by his own hand. This first num- 
ber included a brief "address to the public," in which 
are the key-notes of Garrison's later career: " I shall 
strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchise- 
ment of our slave population — I will be as harsh as 
truth and as uncompromising as justice on this sub- 
ject — I do not wish to think, or speak, or write 
with moderation — I am in earnest — I will not equiv- 
■ See above, chap. xi. 



cx:ate — I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be 
heard!*' Then followed a copy of a petition for the 
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia; a 
cutting from a Washington paper criticising the 
slave-trade in the capital; an accoimt of his own 
trial in Baltimore; a report of the meeting of the 
Manumission Society ; extracts from correspondents ; 
brief items and clippings from southern newspapers, 
and several verses. It was a microcosm of the whole 
abolition agitation.* 

The newspaper thus obscurely foimded soon found 
friends, who from time to time provided the modest 
sums necessary to keep it afloat ; and it was at once 
sent into the citadel of the enemy, for in September, 
1831, angry inquiries came from the south to the 
mayor of Boston, who replied that he could find 
nobody who had seen the paper, and that it was 
supported by the free colored people. It was really 
chiefly supported by its editor's imconquerable spirit. 
Garrison was a natural journalist, in that he had a 
keen eye for lively and interesting news, and the in- 
fluence of the paper was extended through quota- 
tions made from it by other newspapers ; he excelled 
in the editorial combats which were the habit of the 
journalism of that time, and he had a genius for 
infuriating his antagonists. No banderillero ever 
more skilfully planted his darts in the flank of an 
enraged bull. The immediate circulation of the 
Liberator was never large ; it rose to about fourteen 

* G&rrisons, Garrison , I,, 334-236. 


hiindred in 1837, and was given up in 1865, when 
its work was accomplished. It was always a losing 
concern, and a joumaUst who, in the conduct of a 
political or party newspaper, could have rivalled 
and excelled Bennett, Dana, and Greeley, drew the 
barest subsistence from his paper. 

Garrison was not only a remarkable writer, he was 
an effective speaker, and for the same reason in both 
cases; he put his whole strength and vitality into 
his addresses, violently and often unfairly attacking 
foes and even friends, but hammering his principles 
home. This influence was greatly extended by occa- 
sional journeys, though not until 1842 did he tour 
New York State. He says of one of his meetings on 
this trip: **The whole town is in a ferment, every 
tongue is in motion, if an earthquake had occurred, 
it would not have excited more consternation.** * 

Towards the slave-holders Garrison was pitiless; 
his own mind had no room for excuses or palliation 
or half-way convictions ; he made no fine distinctions 
between the slave-holder who treated his slaves as 
balky beasts of burden, and the conscientious man 
who recognized his responsibility to his slave house- 
hold but did not see a duty of emancipating them. 
Upon those who met Garrison he made a variety 
of impressions. " One sees in his beautiful counte- 
nance, and clear eagle eye, that resolute spirit which 
makes the martyr.** ' And Theodore Parker said of 

* Garrisons. Garrison, III., 170. 

* Bremer, Homes of tite Xew World, I., 123. 


him: "I am to thailk you for what your character 
has taught me — it has been a continual Gospel of 
Strength. I value Integrity above all htmian virtues. 
I never knew yours fail, — no, nor even falter. ' ' * Miss 
Martineau said: "His speech is deliberate like a 
Quaker's but gentle as a woman's." * On the other 
hand, Hezekiah Niles called him a "man who is doing 
all possible injury to the cause of emancipation." ' 
Another styled him the " Whip master general and 
supreme judge of all abolitionists, as though he 
wore the triple crown and wielded an irresponsible 
sceptre."* As for the south, the National Intellu 
gencer said of the agitation of the Liberator: "The 
crime is as great as that of poisoning the waters of 
life to a whole commtmity." * 

Just a year after the founding of the Liberator, 
Garrison organized a New England Anti- Slavery Y 
Society; it was an obvious step to proceed thence 
to a federation like those of the churches and other 
philanthropic societies. Local societies sent dele- 
gates to the meetings of the state society; then, in 
December, 1833,* the American Anti-Slavery Society ;X^ 
was founded in Philadelphia to concentrate the 
agitation of the whole country. This anti-slavery 
convention, called while Garrison was out of the 
country, and presided over by Beriah Green, of New 

' Garrisons, Garrison, III., 481. ^ Ibid., II. 1 70. 

• Niles* Register, XLL, 145. * Garrisons, Garrison, II., 271. 
^ Ibid., I., 238. 

• Ibid., 392-414; May, Recollections, 79-97; Old South Leaflets, 
No. 81. 


York, formed a simple constitution and put forth a 
declaration of principles, including the statement 
that "slavery is contrary to the principles of that 
natural justice, of our republican form of govern- 
ment and of the Christian religion; an organization 
ought to be formed by appeals to consciences, hearts 
and interests of the people to awaken a public senti- 
ment throughout the nation." * 

From this time on the local societies rapidly in- 
creased throughout the east. In 1835 there were 
200; in 1836, more than 500; in 1840, about 2000 
auxiliary societies, with between 150,000 and 200,000 
members. The income of the society rose from 
$1000, in 1834, to $47,000 in 1840. The whole or- 
ganization was on the high-tide of prosperity. All 
these societies had periodical meetings, local, state, 
and national, and paid agitators, arousing interest 
and organizing societies. 

A figure like Garrison, who sprang into the 
centre of the arena, forced the fighting, and gave 
and took the hardest kind of blows, at once attracted 
allies and supporters, and he found himself at the 
head of a cohort. One of his warm friends and 
coadjutors was John Greenleaf Whittier, a New 
England Quaker, who in 1833 came into the agita- 
tion and helped to organize the American An ti -Sla- 
very Society. Whittier always had a liking for po- 
litical organization, in which he showed remarkable 
aptitude, and during the three years 1835 to 1837 

* MacDonald, Select Documents, 304. 


he was a member of the Massachusetts legislature, 
and had such weight in the Essex district that he 
compelled Caleb Gushing to make pledges to him 
as the only means of securing an election to Con- 
gress.* For a time he edited an anti-slavery paper in 
Philadelphia, and was author of various anti-slavery 
documents ; but his chief service was as the poet of 
the anti-slavery cause. " The Farewell of a Virginia 
Slave Mother" is perhaps the best known: 

** Gone, gone, — sold and gone, 
To the rice-swamp dank and lone. 
From Virginia's hills and waters ; 
Woe is me, my stolen daughters!" 

No less than eighty of his poems appeared in the 
National Era alone. Less aggressive, although an 
out-and-out abolitionist, Longfellow also gave his 
aid to the cause by his verses, especially the Poems 
on Slavery (1842). 

iThe man who most resembled Garrison in the 
fierceness and mercilessness of his attacks was 
Wendell Phillips, who, in December, 1837, ^^^^ ^ 
young law student, at a meeting held to protest 
against the recent murder of Lovejoy at Alton, 
Illinois,* sprang into the forefront of the anti-sla- 
very speakers. Possessed of a wonderfully easy and 
beautiful diction, animated on occasion to the 

* Pickard, Whittier, I., 172-186, confirmed by a personal state- 
ment of Whittier to the author of this book. 

• See chap, xvii., below. 



highest flights of oratory, and never held back by 
adhesion to plain and common-sense facts, Phillips, 
"the silver-tongued orator/' was a force in the 
anti-slavery meetings, and throughout the contest 
was called upon to electrify and arouse. If he had 
little or no power of logical reasoning, he did appeal 
to the great principles of human liberty; and he 
sealed his adherence to the unpopular cause of the 
weak and the oppressed by parting company with 
his own intimate friends.^ 
Later to enter the lists and throw an established 
y literary reputation into an tmpopular cause, was 
James Rtissell Lowell. Earlier in life Lowell took 
the conventional view of abolition, but when, in 
1845, he went to Philadelphia to write for The 
Pennsylvania Freeman, his first anti-slavery utter- 
ance was called out by the capture of some fugitive 
slaves. Presently he fotmd himself an abolitionist 
and an editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard; 
and there followed, in 1846, the tmrelenting satire 
to which he gave the name of The Biglow Papers, 
in which he fused a fierce hatred of slavery with 
vigorous anti- slavery arguments against exten- 
sion of southern territory. "Leaving the sin of 
it to God," said he, "I believe and still believe 
that slavery is the Achilles heel of our polity ; that 
it is a temporary and false supremacy of the 
white races, sure to destroy that supremacy at 
last, because an enslaved people always prove 

* Higgin$on, Contemporaries, 2^8-268. 


themselves of more enduring fibre than their en- 
slavers." * 

These were the leaders, but with them were asso- 
ciated a host of other men who gave their lives to 
the cause, some of whom made more impression 
upon contemporaries than upon posterity; Charles 
C. Burleigh, for example, ^celebrated for his apt 
answers to"questions and his objections to razor 
and shears ; John G. Palfrey, of Massachusetts, who 
inherited fifty slaves , worth about nine thousand 
dollars, brought them to Massachusetts and set 
them free ; * Dr. Charles Follen, exiled from Ger- 
many for what would now be called a Nihilist con- 
spiracy, and the one professor of Harvard College 
who unswervingly gave himself up to anti-slavery ; • 
Theodore Parker,^ the trenchant Boston minister 
and protector of fugitives. The catise was cheered 
and strengthened by the adhesion of several mem- 
bers of the old Boston families, especially Edmtmd 
Quincy, who, like Phillips, was roused by the at- 
tempt to justify the assassination of Lovejoy. Even 
Charles Francis Adams, son of the ex-president, 
wrote at the time: "I wish I could be an entire 
abolitionist, but it is impossible ; my mind will not 
come down to the point." * /* ^''' -' ^'' rHa-.. a. r 

» Scudder, Lowell, I., 257. ' May, Recollections, ^g^, 

'Ibid., 249-258. * Adams, C, F. Adams, 36. 





TEIE forces which brought abolitton to the front 
were older than Garrison, and would have made 
themselves felt if he had never lived. In New Eng- 
land and outside arose anti-slavery men like Adams, 
who never acted with him, and plenty of abolition- 
ists who never accepted allegiance to him; while 
many of his earlier followers cast off his leadership 
and pursued ends of which he disapproved. Three 
groups of non-Garrisonian abolitionists may be dis- 
V tinguished — the New England, the middle state, and 
the western. 

In New England one of the great moral forces 
was Dr. William EUery Channing, Unitarian minis- 
ter in Boston and Newport. His sympathy was 
naturally with the movement, but he disliked Gar- 
rison's severity of tone and method, and was un- 
moved by a personal appeal from Garrison in 
January, 1834.* The great authority of his pen was 
more successfully sought by others, and in Decem- 
ber, 183s, he published a voltime setting forth the 

' Garrisons, Garrison, 1., 464. 


terrible evils of slavery, but suggesting other reme- 
dies than immediate emancipation. During the re- 
maining four years of his life Channing continued 
his argument, quite outside the Garrison move- 
ment, and his books furnished an arsenal of ma- 
terial against slavery. 

The middle states group was strong in New York \ 
City and among the Quakers of Pennsylvania,* and 
the aged Gallatin, throughout his life an opponent 
of slavery, in 1844 squarely placed himself as an 
anti-slavery man.' William Jay, son of the chief - 
justice, early joined the movement and wrote ef- 
fective criticisms of slavery, based on historical data. 
Horace Greeley, editor of the Tribune, contented 
himself, during the earlier struggle, with anti-slavery 
ground.' Rev. Samuel J. May, of Syracuse, was a 
sort of New York Garrison, though less caustic and 

In the middle states group were several wealthy 
and generous friends of the cause. The brothers 
Arthur and Lewis Tappan, merchants of New York, 
for years active colonizationists, in 1833 came over 
to the abolitionist coltmm, and helped to found a 
New York society. They supported with timely 
gifts several struggling newspapers, issued tracts, 
and attempted to form a colored college.* Of similar 
character was Gerrit Smith, of Peterboro, New York, 

* Child, Hopper, passim. ' Adams, Gallatin, 671. 

* Parton, Greeley, 250. 

* Bowen, A. and L. Tappan; L. Tappan, Life of A, Tappan. 

VOL. XVI. — 13 



the son of a New York slave-holder and the owner 
of about seven hundred and fifty thousand acres of 
land. At first a colonizationist, in 1835 he became 
an abolitionist, and in course of years gave to the 
national and New York societies at least fifty thou- 
sand doUars in cash, besides presenting forty acres 
of land to each of three thousand colored men. His 
money gifts were the smaller part of his interest in 
the cause: his house was a caravansary for aboli- 
tionists and a refuge for fugitives; he was one of the 
earliest political abolitionists in the country, and 
aided in the formation of the Liberty party in 1839.* 
■ The third group of abolitionists grew up with lit- 
A ile^ckre or knowledge of Garrison. Slavery was a 

familiar issue in the west, while New England was 
still inactive, but a new public excitement on the 
subject was aroused by the debate in Lane Theo- 
logical Seminary in Cincinnati in 1832. The presi- 
dent, Dr. Lyman Beecher, was an eastern man, whose 
daughter Harriet made some observations during 
her residence which were later incorporated into 
Uncle Tom's Cabin. The students were partly 
drawn from the northern and partly from the 
southern states, including the sons of slave-holders. 
At the suggestion of Arthur Tappan, one of the 
founders of the seminary, the students took up 
colonization and abolition, and eighteen consecutive 
nights were spent in hot discussion. Theodore F. 

'May, Recollections, 167-170. 321-329; Goodell, Slavery and 
Anti-Slavery, 405, 463; Frothingham, Gerrit Smith. 


Weld, a student from the east, a disciple of Garri- 
son, much affected the minds of his fellows ; and a 
majority of the students became abolitionists and 
began to practise their principles by setting up 
Simday and day schools for colored children. 

The trustees were aroused, and voted that there 
must be no further public discussions, in which 
Dr. Beecher concurred, whereupon four-fifths of the 
students withdrew (May, 1833), and fifty-four joined 
in a public statement that they could not give up 
their right to inqtiire into slavery. For some months 
they set up some sort of institution of their own, 
listening to lectures by Dr. Gamaliel Bailey. Asa 
Mahan, then a minister in Cincinnati, resigned from 
the board of trustees, and, with Rev. John Morgan, 
who had been a professor in the seminary, piloted 
the students to Oberlin.*- 

This secession was practically the beginning of 
organized abolition in Ohio, and it resulted in the 
creation of an abolition centap^in the west. Philo P; 
Stewart, manufacturer of an excellent cooking-stove 
in Albany, and the Rev. John J. Shipherd, a min- 
ister in Ohio, in 1833 conceived the idea of a Puritan 
commonwealth on the frontier. Sectuing a tract of 
land at some distance from any other village, they 
named it Oberlin, for a benevolent pastor in the v 
Vosges Motmtains, and in December, 1833, opened / 

' Lyman Beecher, Autobiography, II., chap, xxxiv.; Stanton, 
Randofft Recolleciions , 43-48; Bimey. Bimey, 135-137; State- 
ment of Reasons for Withdrawal from Lane Seminary (pamphlet) . 


a school in which fifteen of the forty-four students 
were girls. The education of boys and girls together, 
even in boaiding-schools, was not unfamiliar in New 
England and the west; but when, two months later, 
the new institution secured a charter as the '*Ober- 
lin CoU^iate Institute/' including among its objects 
"'the elevation of female character, by bringing 
within the reach of the misjudged and n^lected sex 
all the instructoral privil^;es which have hitherto 
unreasonably distinguished the leading sex from 
theirs," ^ it was evident that here was a new idea; 
for the first time in the History of the country the 
opportunity of a thorough college education was 
given to women; and in due time some of them 
received from this college the first degrees of A.B. 
conferred on women in this country. 

Now arose the question of joint education of 
J^ whites and blacks. In December, 1834, Mr. Ship- 
herd insisted that students m\ist be admitted " irre- 
spective of color." For a time the trustees himg 
bac)c; but when informed that tmless negroes were 
admitted they could not obtain Professor Morgan 
from Lane Seminary, nor Mahan, the gifted south- 
erner, to be their president, nor Fiimey, a noted 
theologian and revivalist, nor ten thousand dollars 
that was waiting for them, the trustees, February 9, 
1835, voted: "That the education of the people 
of color is a matter of great interest and should 
be encouraged and sustained in this institution." 

* Fairchild, Oberlin, 41. 


Thereupon the three desired professors appeared, 
together with thirty Lane students. Weld visited 
Oberlin, and, by his powerful abolition arguments, 
revolutionized the sentiment of the place. The 
students formed anti- slavery societies, began to 
hold meetings in the neighborhood, and in a few 
years formed a focus of active anti-slavery senti- 
ment. In the first year only one of the 277 students 
was colored, but others gathered, and eventually 
about one-fifth of the population of the place wa^ 
negro, and it became a great station on the Under- 
grotmd Railroad.* 

Some of the pre-existing Ohio anti-slavery socie- 
ties, in April, 1835, joined in forming a state so- 
ciety, in which the leaders were Samuel Crothers, 
John Rankin, and others from the slave states, 
Elizur Wright, a professor in the Congregational 
Western Reserve College, and a group of the Lane 
Seminary seceders. Within a year a htmdred and 
twenty societies had been formed, with more than 
ten thousand members. The next year the move- 
ment was strengthened by the coming of James G. 
Bimey, who had been driven out of Kentucky be- 
ca\ise he was trying to print an anti-slavery paper, 
and he set up the Philanthropist, which was soon 
accepted by the Ohio society and became its organ. 
A few months later the office of his paper in Cincin- 
nati was sacked by a mob and Bimey's life was 
endangered. The movement was now imder full 

' Fairchild, Oberlin, 55-77, 111-115. 


J headway. Although Theodore P, Weld introduced 
^ the leaven, it was 1847 before Garrison saw the west- 
em slope of the All^hanies. Then he travelled with 
Frederick Douglass, held conventions and open-air 
meetings throughout the Western Reserve, and vis- 
ited Obeilin, where he found himself opposed in 
debate by President Mahan; but he was never rec- 
ognized as the head or leader of the western abo- 

The movement soon made itself felt in others of 
the northwestern states. Indiana had only a small 
proportion of eastern settlers and was slow in taking 
up abolition. Illinois began to form local societies 
in 1835, which were strongest in the northern coim- 
ties. In Michigan the movement began in 1834, 
and there may have been thirty societies in 1840 as 
against several hundred in Ohio.' In Illinois there 
was a yoimg member of the legislature, named 
Abraham Lincoln, who, on March 3, 1837, joined 
with one Dan Stone in a formal written protest 
setting forth that "They believe that the institu- 
tion of slavery is foimded on both injustice and bad 
policy, but that the promulgation of abolition doc- 
trines tends rather to increase than abate its evils." * 

The reason for the unequal development of the 

\^ thrbe^areas of abolition is to be foimd in part in the 

difference of conditions. In New England abolition 

* Garrisons, Garrison, III., 203. 

* Smith, Liberty and Free Soil Parties, 13, 
' Xicolay and Hay, Lincoln, I., 140. 


dealt with an extraneous motive: slavery had all 
but disappeared, and few of those engaged in the 
movement had any personal experience of it. It 
was not till negroes began to appear on the New 
England platforms and to be himted through the 
streets of New England cities that slavery seemed 
a personal thing. The middle states had about 
three thousand slaves in 1830, and they were much 
more familiar than the New England states with the 
coming of fugitives and free negroes, and were sub- 
ject to various sorts of border difficulties; slavery 
was therefore to them a more practical evil. In the 
west the relation was still closer and more pertinent, 
for though the slaves were but a few himdred, 
almost the whole length of the Ohio River was a 
slave-holding frontier. Thousands of northwestern 
people visited Vii^ginia, Kentucky, or Missouri, and 
the presence of many anti-slavery " come-outers " 
from the slave-holding states gave a vividness to 
the movement which it nowhere else possessed. 
Cincinnati, deeply interested in southern trade and 
much visited by southerners, was also a centre of 
anti-slavery discussion, and the home of James G, 
Bimey, the best-known southern critic of slavery; 
of Gamaliel Bailey, the most vigorous western anti- 
slavery editor; and of Salmon P. Chase, the most 
striking political abolitionist in the west. 

A New Hampshire man by birth, educated in 
Washington, and settled in Ohio in 1830, Chase 
easily took on the characteristics of that bustling 



commtuiity. He was aroused to anti-davery by the 
attempt to silence and to mob Bimey in 1836; and 
in 1841 he threw himself into the movement, at- 
tended and addressed anti-slavery meetings, and 
hdped to organize an abolition party.^ 

One reason for the foxce which abolition eaily 
acquired in Ohio was the fallow field waiting for it 
in the Western Reserve. This r^on, settled by 
Connecticut people between 1790 and 1820, was still 
a little New England, its churches, schools, and 
local government closely modelled on those of Con- 
necticut. Western Reserve College, planted at Hud- 
son, near Cleveland, in 1826, was a western Yale; 
though at first inclined to hold back in abolition, it 
became, like its neighbor Oberlin, a seminary of 
anti- slavery sentiment. In the Western Reserve, 
abolition societies, meetings, and agitators flourished; 
and from it, in 1838, was chosen Joshua R. Giddings, 
the first western abolitionist member of the House 
of Representatives ; eleven years later, through the 
deciding vote of a member of the legislature from 
a district which included Oberlin, Salmon P. Chase 
was elected senator from Ohio.' 

All three sections had their part in the great 
abolition struggle; all three groups contributed 
forces necessary for the struggle. New England 
raised up orators, poets, and satirists — the spokes- 
men of the rights of man and the obligations of 

* Hart, Chase, chap. iii. 

• Hart, •* Anti-Slavery in Ohio," in his Chase, chap. iii. 


society. The middle states furnished a considerable 
part of the sinews of war ; kept up the journals, east 
and west; fotinded schools and aided colleges; and 
made a point of resistance to the commercial influ- 
ences of New York and Philadelphia. The western 
abolitionists organized the Underground Railroad, 
which helped to make slavery tmprofitable; drew 
in the aid of southerners themselves; and, above 
all, devised and set in motion a political abolition 

That Garrison made no effort to build up a fol- 
lowing in the middle and western states was partly 
due to a series of conflicts within the eastern aboli- 
tionists, which led, after five or six years of strife, 
to a weakening split. The main grounds of differ- 
ence between the Garrisonians and other abolitionists . / 
were five — personal disagreements, the status of X 
women, the Bible, non-resistance, and politics. 

The abolitionists were not all lambs, and not all 
reasonable; and Garrison was tmsparing of his 
friends as well as of his enemies. He had what his 
biographers call "an imyielding purpose to expose 
and refute the errors, fallacies, and misrepresenta- 
tions of every proselyte to the cause, or every ally, 
however great his name or desirable his accession." * 
Especially towards Channing he felt all the bitter- 
ness of a radical against a liberal, and he character- 
ized Channing's extremely strong and effective at- 

' Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. Nation, XVIII.), chap. xii. 
' Garrisons, Garrison, II., 90. 

iqS slavery and abolition [1833 

tack on slavery as "moral plagiarisms from the 
writings of the abolitionists." 

Up to this time, except among the Methodists and 
Quakers, women were not expected to take part in 
any sort of public meetings, and St. Paul was quoted 
against them: " But I suffer not a woman to teach, 
nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in 
silence." * Nevertheless, when the convention of 
1833 was held at Philadelphia, Lucretia Mott and 
other women took part in the proceedings tmre- 
buked. Thereafter women joined freely in the abo- 
lition movement; to whom, as Dr. Channing said, 
*' above all others slavery should seem an intoler- 
able evil because its chief victims are women." ' 
A separate women's society was formed in Boston. 
In many places women entered the local societies 
as members, officers, and even speakers. The 
Grimk6 sisters lent force to the movement by their 
personal testimony to the iniquities of slavery. 
Lydia Maria Child, an author of much repute, took 
up the cudgels in a book — An Appeal in Favor of 
that Class of Americans called Africans — which cost 
her her market in the south. Many other women 
gave their pens and their voices; and some foreign 
women, by their criticism of slavery as they saw it 
— especially Fanny Kemble and Frederika Bremer 
— much inflamed public opinion. In 1837 an effort 
was made to stay this tide by a pastoral letter to 
the churches, issued by the Massachusetts Associa- 

* I Timothy, ii., 12. 'Channing, Works, II., 66. 


tion of Congregational Ministers, based on the prin- 
ciple that the "perplexed and agitating subjects 
which are now common amongst us . . . should not 
be forced upon any church as matters for debate at 
the hazard of alienation and division"; and that it 
portended changes which "threatened the female 
character with widespread and permanent injury — 
the vine usurps the role of the elm."* With his 
accustomed wrath, Garrison repelled the charges of 
disrupting the churches and imsexing women; but 
when,ini838, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society 
formally accepted women as members, a separate 
Massachusetts Abolition Society was formed, with 
Elizur Wright as secretary, stating as "groimd of 
separation from the old that the latter upheld a 
change in the sphere of woman's action." * 

A serious charge was that Garrison was drifting 
into infidelity. Always a man of strong religious feel- 
ing, and beginning as a very orthodox church mem- 
ber, observant of the forms of prayer and church- 
going. Garrison at one time adhered to perfection — 
that is, the doctrine of personal holiness; later in 
life he inclined to spiritualism. In 1836 he pro- 
tested against attempting to enforce the observance 
of the Sabbath " as a positive tyranny which ought 
to be resisted by all the Lord's freemen." • Among 
the principles thus taken up and urged by Garrison 

' May, Recollections, 237-244; Garrisons, Garrison, IT., 133. 
'Garrisons, Garrison, II., 305-307. 
•/WJ., 112; III., 375-377- 


was that of peace, and the only way to assure it was 
for all men to practise non-resistance, an idea in our 

I day revived by Tolstoi. Then Garrison's principle 

' grew till it embraced non-participation in any gov- 

ernment which permitted the use of force to re- 
strain the slave. In 1837, in his tribute to the 
murdered Lovejoy. he lodged a solemn protest 

1 because Lovejoy and his friends had armed them- 

selves; and in 1838 he called together a peace con- 
vention in Boston, which voted that "we cannot 

I acknowledge allegiance to any human govemmettt; 

neither can wc oppose any such government by a 
resort to physical force. Our coimtiy is the world, 
our countrymen are all mankind. We love the land 
of our nativity only as we love all other lands." * 
\J JThis hostility to political action, and Garrison's 
general disposition to combine other causes and re- 
forms with anti-slavery, and to insist that genuine 
abolitionists must accept them all, were distasteful 
to both middle state and western abolitionists, and 
hastened a split in the national organization. In 
1839 an attempt was made to oust Garrison from 
his position of leadership by excluding women from 
committee positions. It failed, but both parties 
girded up their loins for the next anntial meeting in 
1840. Every abolitionist present had a vote, and, 
as Garrison boasted, an " anti-slavery boatload . . . 
saved our society from falling into the hands of the 
new organizers." A test vote of 560 Garrisonians 

' Garrisons, Garristm, II., 330. 



to 450 dissidents was the signal for the formation 
of a new national society tinder the name of the 
" American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society." Gar- )\ 
rison declared that the new society was a mere mask 
for Lewis Tappan, who drew up its annual report 
and bore the expenses of its. single meeting.* The 
old society disclaimed any attempt to make non- 
resistance a test for abolitionists ; but it adhered to 
its women memberships and emphasized its anti- 
clerical principles by voting that "the American 
church, with the exception of some of its smaller 
branches, has given its imdisguised sanction and 
support to the system of American slavery." * 

The effect of the split was shown by the treas- 
urer's report of the original American society, the 
annual income dropping immediately from $47,000 
to $7000, and for fifteen years it did not rise above 
$1 2,000. The number of local societies and of mem- 
bers also at once diminished and was never recov- 
ered. The new society never had any such galaxy 
of journalists and speakers, and was tmable to con- 
centrate the western societies, which, by this time, 
were changing into political organizations; and, ^ ^^ 
* after 1840, abolition as a national force was giving \ 
way to the anti - slavery movement stirred by the 
efforts to annex Texas.' 

'Garrisons, Garrison, III., 35; Goodell, Slavery and Anti- 
Slavery, 447-462. 

'Garrisons, Garrison, II.. 349; defence of Garrison in Chap- 
man, Right and Wrong in Massachusetts. 

• Sec Garrison, Westward Extension iAm. Nation,Xyil.) , chap. v. 




IF we are to accept the statement of the motives 
and purposes of the abolitionists put forward by 
their adversaries, they were among the worst of 
mankind: "Prurient love of notoriety/* "envy or 
malignity/' an intention to "excite to desperate at- 
tempts and particular acts of cruelty and horror/' 
to bring about "a complete equalization of blacks 
and whites/* to "scatter among our southern breth- 
ren firebrands, arrows and death'* — such are some 
of the amenities applied to the abolitionists/ Even 
the gentle Emerson said of them: "If an angry 
bigot assumes this bountiful cause of Abolition, and 
comes to me with his last news from Barbadoes, 
why should I not say to him, *Go love thy infant; 
love thy wood -chopper ; be good-natured and mod- 
est ; have that grace ; and never varnish your hard, 
uncharitable ambition with this incredible tender- 

* Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argufnent, 93 ; Von Raumer, A mcrica, 
121; Garrisons, Garrison, I., 495-500; cf. Bledsc^, Liberty and 
Slaifery, chap. ii. 


ness for black folk a thousand miles off. Thy love 
afar is spite at home!'" * 

These charges can hardly be thought a self-evi- 
dent statement of the objects of the abolitionists, 
which may be gathered in part from their private 
character, partly from their own public statements, 
and partly from the methods which they employed 
to influence public opinion. As for their character, V^ 
the abolitionists in general were people who paid "^ 
their debts, attended divine service, and liad the 
reputation of an orderly life. Some of them were 
one-sided men, such as Garrison and Phillips, who 
held a brief for liberty and did not trouble them- 
selves to look at the case of the other side — indeed, 
they did not admit that there was another side. 
There were some impostors and some demagogues 
among them, but Whittier in New England, the 
Tappans in New York, and Bimey in the west, 
were characteristic abolitionists of their sections, 
and none of them was false, self-seeking, or blood- 

In their spoken and printed statements the abo- 
litionists justified Jay's admonition : " They will 
address argimients to the tmderstanding and the 
consciences of their fellow -citizens"; and Ltmdy, 
an tmcompromising foe of slavery, held that "the 
language of cutting retort or severe rebuke, is sel- 
dom convincing, and it is wholly out of place in 
persuasive argument." Most of them also held 

' Emerson, Essay on Self -Reliance, 



that the use o£ force was not part of their pro- 

Then how and wbeare was the dave tp be freed? 
In the 6TSt nttmber oC the L&tralor, Ganiaon ab- 
jured the doctrine ttf gradual emanc^atkin, andaQ 
his societies declared vtobaiMia^ for mmindifttB 
cmandpation. the American society addnig that 
"No compensation should be given to the planteiB 
emancipatiiig their slaves." * Yet, outside of New 
Kigland, the societies and leaden would havecbeer- 
fuUy accepted gradual emancipatian acts £iom the 
neighboring slave states. Among the known oppo- 
nents of immediacy were Evan Lewis of Philadel- 
phia, first president o£ the American Anti-Slavery 
Society, William Jay of New York, and Moses Brown 
of Providence.* 

Abolition meant to the abolitionists not only free- 
dom, but the eradication of all the incidents and 
results of slavery — "all the laws, discriminations, 
social customs and practices which bore against the 
negro race." * As for the slave-holder, since slavery 
was an obvious evil, the abolitionists held bim 
morally responsible and called upon him to repent 
and to show works meet for repentance by abolish- 

' Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 140; Lift of Benjamin Lundy, 
»8; Garrisons, Garrison, I., »95. 

* See Garrisons. Garrison, I., 410, in postscript. For eariy ad- 
vocates of immediacy, see George Bourne, Book and Sktvery Ir- 
reconcilable (iSifi); EliEabetta Heyrick, Immediate vs. Gradual 
Emancipation (London, 1814). 

' Goodetl, Slavery and Anii-Staotry, 393. 

* Ded&ration of 1833, in Ganisoaa, Garrison, I., 408. 


ing slavery on his own plantation. As incident to 
these purposes the abolitionists claimed the ftdlest 
right of freedom of speech, both north and south.* 

An obvious and distiu'bing retort by the slave- 
holder was that the abolitionist knew nothing of 
what he was discussing. "Why don't you go 
South?" was a taimt frequently hurled, to which 
Garrison, who had never been beyond Baltimore, 
but whose personal courage was undeniable, re- 
plied: "Why, then, should we go into the slave- 
holding states, to assail their towering wickedness, 
at a time when we are sure we should be gagged, 
or imprisoned, or put to death, if we went thither?" * 
The only New England agitators who had seen much 
of slavery in the south were Channing and James 
Freeman Clarke, a Unitarian minister in Louisville 
from 1833 to 1840.* The reproach did not apply to 
men bom in the south, like Bimey and Cassius M. 
Clay, Rankin and Mahan, or Elijah P. Lovejoy, who 
lived for a time in St. Louis. Few abolitionists were 
known to have attempted a propaganda in the far 
south.* The charge that the abolitionists knew \ 
nothing of slavery was not significant, for foreign 
and northern visitors freely reported their impres- 
sions, and in the coltmins of southern newspapers 
the abolitionists fotmd unfailing material. 

The argument that the abolitionists had no busi- 

* Channing to Bimey, Works, II., 161. 
' Garrisons, Garrison, I., 507. 

* Clarke. Anti-Slavery Days, 22. ♦ See chap, xvi., below. 

VOL. XVI. — 14 


ness to discuss a question which did not coinoem 
. them would have been stronger had the south 
'^ encouraged or even permitted discussion by its own 
people. A keen foreigner observed that she '* scarce- 
ly ever met with a man, or woman either, who can 
openly and honestly look the thing in the face. 
They wind and turn about in all sorts of ways, and 
make use of every argument, sometimes the most 
opposite, to convince me that the slaves are the 
happiest people in the world." ^ The abolitionists 
fell back on their right to supply the deficiency. 
"We are told indeed by the South," said Dr. Chan- 
ning, "that slavery is no concern of ours, and 
consequently that the less we say of it the better. 
What! shall the wrongdoer forbid lookers-on to 
speak, because the affair is a private one?" ' 

Neve r doubting their legal and moral right to 
orgamze northern public opinion against slavery in 
the south, the abolitionists worked out a thorough- 
going propaganda: they drew up petitions to the 
state and national legislatures; they appeared be- 
fore legislative committees ; they sent out travelling 
agents ; they busied themselves with the conditions 
of the free colored people ; above all, they held anti- 
slavery meetings in all sorts of places, from a stable- 
loft to a church or public hall. An account of one 
of these meetings, in Faneuil Hall in 1850, will serve 
as a type of all. It was addressed by escaped 

' Bremer. Hatnes of the New World, I.. 275. 
' Channing. Works, VI., 6i. 


fugitive slaves, one of whom was a woman. Miss 
Lucy Stone inveighed against the pro-slavery men 
of the north, and especially Daniel Webster. Ed- 
mund Quincy drew down upon himself the hisses of 
the audience by criticising his brother, the mayor of 
Boston, and was cut off by calls for Wendell Phillips, 
who ** spoke with the low voice of suppressed emo- 
tion, and a simplicity of language, yet powerful 
enough to incite to the utmost the human heart. . . . 
The assembly himg on his lips and took in every 
word. An excited gentleman leapt upon the plat- 
form and began to declaim at the side of Phil- 
lips. The assembly whistled, shouted, clapped, and 
hissed, but began to leave with the utmost calm- 
ness and composiu'e." * At the regular meetings 
of societies and conventions reports were made, 
officers were elected, and appeals to the public were 
drawn up. 

The abolitionists early learned how much paper 
can be covered with printer's ink at a small ex- 
pense, and had a special press. Next to the Liber- 
ator comes the Genius of Universal Emancipation ; 
the Emancipator, published in New York', and, in a 
sense, the organ for the middle states ; the Abolition- 
ist, tmder the editorship, for a time, of William 
Goodell; the Philanthropist, in Cincinnati; and, la- 
ter, the National Era, ably edited by Dr. Gamaliel 
Bailey, in Washington. No great daily took up the 
cause of abolition previous to i860, but the New 

* Bremer, Homes of the New World, I., 192-196. 


York Tribune and many western dailies were anti- 
slavery in tone.' These papers all had a limited 
circulation among the faithful, but were vigorously 
edited and widely quoted. 

The abolitionists, east and west, stood by their 
principles in admitting negroes to a part in their 
movement; the northern free negroes subscribed 
for the papers, made up part of the audiences, and 
furnished several agitators, of whom the Rev. J, W, 
Loguen, of Syracuse, was the best known. An inter- 
esting delegation of southern negroes somehow found 
their way north to speak from their own experience 
of slavery; and they were a living argument for 
the tenet of the abolitionists that the n^ro was a 
black white man, held back simply by lack of op> 

When Frederick Douglass made his first appear- 
ance in New England, in 1843, Garrison asked: 
"Have we been listening to a thing, a piece of 
property, or to a man?" and he followed it up with 
the question, " Shall such a man ever be sent baj:k 
to slavery from the soil of old Massachiisetts?" * 
Douglass Was at once made an agent of the Massa- 
chusetts society, wrote a striking book upon his 
experiences, and even set up an anti-slavery paper 
of his own, The North Star. A man of extraordinary 
power and magnetism, a remarkable speaker, the 

' See list of papers in South, Liberty and Free Soil Pariiti, App. 
B; Life of Benjamin Landy, i6i. > See chap, xxii., below. 

* Garrisons, Garrison, III., 19. 


most eminent of his race in that period, he travelled 
widely through the cotintry, and occasional efforts 
were made to lynch him.* A very striking negro 
woman was Sojourner Truth, a New York slave, set 
free by the emancipation act of 1827, who preached 
wherever she could find hearers, made short journeys 
through the north, and was a frequent figure at anti- 
slavery meetings. Tall, very black, crowned with a 
bandanna tiu'ban, she looked like a sable princess, 
and had a shrewd and homely wisdom exemplified 
in her dictimi on woman's rights : " Ef women want 
any rights, mor'n dey's got, why don't dey jes' take 
'em, an' not be talkin' about it?'" 

A similar character was the heroic Harriet Tub- 
man, who went time after time into the southern 
states, made up companies of discontented slaves, 
and brought north to freedom about three htmdred 
of her folk. Her extraordinary power of statement 
was illustrated in her description of a battle in the 
Civil War: "And then we saw the lightning, and 
that was the guns ; and then we heard the thunder, 
and that was the big guns ; and then we heard the 
rain falling, and that was drops of blood falling; 
and when we came to git in the craps, it was dead 
men that we reaped." ' 

The New England abolitionists sought co-opera- 

* Monroe, Lectures and Addresses, 57-94; May, Recollections, 
293-296; Garrisons, Garrison, III., 18-20. 

'Mrs. Stowe, in Atlantic Monthly, XI., 473-481; Sojourner 
Truth. » Heard by the author of this book. 


tion with the English, and Garrison three times 
visited England to detach Qarkson and other vet- 
erans from the colonization movement. In 1840, 
Garrison, at a world's convention of anti-davery 
people in London, refused to sit because women 
del^iates from BCassachusetts were not received.^ 
One restilt of this co-operation was an address of 
sixty thousand Irish people to their countrymen 
and countrywomen in America, ui^iing them to be- 
come abolitionists, which had little or no effect 
except to intensify the feeling that foreigners were 
meddling in our concerns.' 

In every part of this agitation the abolitionists 
stood for a despised cause. The few men like Wen- 
dell Phillips, Edmund Quincy, and Thomas W. 
Higginson, who came out of the agreeable circle of 
New England aristocracy, were made to feel that 
it was a choice between the slave and the friends of 
their youth. When Harriet Martineau attended an 
anti-slavery meeting she foimd that she had given 
offence to the best society in Boston. Theodore 
Parker found his clerical brethren refusing to ex- 
change pulpits with him, and he wrote: "My life 
seems to me a complete failure socially ; here I am 
as much an outcast from society as though I were 
a convicted pirate." ' The eastern colleges, almost 

' Garrisons, Garrison, II., 353, 373; III.. 159. 
• Ibid., 343-360; Daniel O'Connell upon Am. Slavery. 
•May, Recollections, 159; Frothingham, Parker, 158. 347; 
Pierce, Sutnner, III., 119-121. 


without exception, were strongholds of pro-slavery 
feeling ; when the appointment of Charles Pollen as 
professor in Harvard College expired, somehow he 
was not reappointed. In 1848, Charles Sumner, a 
graduate of Harvard, spoke to the students of the 
college ; Longfellow said : " The shouts and the hisses 
and the vulgar interruptions grated on my ears. I 
was glad to get away." When Emerson spoke on 
the fugitive-slave law at the Cambridge city-hall, in 
1 85 1 , he was hissed and hooted by yoimg law students. * 
That those who profited by slavery would be 
against them had been expected by the abolitionists, 
but they were sorely disappointed in the clergy and \ 
chiu'ches, especially in New England. When Garri- 
son began his work, he thought nothing was more 
like the spirit of Christ than to relieve the oppressed, 
to preach the gospel to the benighted, and to bring 
a whole race of people out of sin and debasement; 
but he soon found that neither minister nor chiu'ch 
anywhere in the lower south continued to protest 
against slavery; that the cloth in the north was 
arrayed against him, and that many northern 
divines entered the lists against abolition, especial- 
ly Moses Stuart, professor of Hebrew in Andover 
Theological Seminary, who justified slavery from the 
New Testament; President Lord, of Dartmouth 
College, who held that slavery was an institution 
of God, according to natural law;* and Hopkins, 

* Longfellow, Longfellow, XL, 127, 194. 

• Clarke, Anti-Slavery Days, 109. 


Episcopal bishop of Vennont. who came forward 
as a thick-and-thin defender of slavery,' The posi- 
tive opposition of churches soon followed. Lewis 
Tappan and others were tried by their own churches 
for their abolition activity.' The Methodist Gen- 
eral Conference of 1836 passed a resolution of cen- 
sure on two of its members who had spoken in favor 
of abolition ; and the New York ifethodist Confer- 
ence of 1838 warned all members not in any way 
to patronize the Zion's Watchman, an anti-slavery 

The controversy was carried into the benevolent 
and missionary societies. The American Board of 
Commissioners for Foreign Missions, a Congrega- 
tional body, permitted its agents among the Indians 
to hold slaves. The American Home Missionary So- 
ciety helped to support churches in slave-holding 
states, in all of which slave-holders were allowed 
membership. The American Bible Society permit- 
ted, without protest, the arrest of one of its agents 
for furnishing a Bible to a colored person.* The 
Protestant Episcopal church refused to admit to 
orders a colored candidate otherwise qualified. The 
Baptists had no authoritative general body, but 
its missionary and Bible societies employed slave- 

' Hopkins, Scripiurai View of Slavery. 
' Goodetl, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 434. 
•Garrisons, Garrison, III., 30; Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 
661-664; GooAeW, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 193, iit. 


On the abolition side ranged many individual 
clergymen of weight and ability, especially in New 
England. Channing's deliberate and hearty adhe- 
sion to abolition, in 1836, gave to the cause a writer 
of high literary skill and a leader in the conserva- 
tive and fashionable Unitarian church, to which also 
belonged James Freeman Clarke. Theodore Parker, 
of the same denomination, was a radical and sus- 
pected by his brethren, but an unyielding aboli- 
tionist. Thomas Wentworth Higginson later entered 
the arena as a militant clerical. In the middle 
states, the strongest anti-slavery minister was Al- 
bert Barnes, of Philadelphia, a great light in the 
Presbyterian chiu'ch.* In the west, Finney, the 
eccentric evangelist, carried the weight of his im- 
mense power as an exhorter; and many ministers 
took their congregations with them into the move- 

Neither neglect nor repression could keep the 
question down. Two of the great national churches 
were, in this period, split from top to bottom. The 
General Assembly of the Presbirterian church was, 
from 1835 to 1837, engaged in an exciting discussion 
upon the subject, ending by laying on the table 
addresses by the abolitionist members.* Then, af- 
ter expelling four synods especially affected by the 

' Barnes, Church and Slavery, passim. 

'Von Hoist, Untied States, II., 226-231; May", Recollections, 
329-345. 365-373; Fairchild, Oherlin College, 66, 79. 
• Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 153-155. 




abolition heresy, it was divided in 1838 into the so- 
called New School and the Old School upon doctri- 
nal questions.' The Old School Assembly, which in- 
cluded some of the southern Presb>-terians and a 
large proportion of the northern, subsequently voted 
that the church could not condemn slavery without 
condemning the apostles for conniving with it. The 
New School attempted to relegate the matter to the 
local presbyteries, and avoided taking action upon 
it. Upon this issue a small branch broke off about 
1850, under the leadership of Rev. John Rankin, 
and formed the Free Presbyterian church, with a 
few thousand adherents, who made it a tenet that 
no slave - holder should be admitted to member- 
ship. The great Methodist church divided, in 1844, 
squarely upon the question whether a bishop coiUd 
hold slaves, and all the southern members with- 
drew and organized the Methodist Episcopal Church 
South. As in the case of the Presbyterians, some 
smaller fragments set themselves off into out-and- 
out anti-slavery churches.* Clearly, the impassioned 
agitation of the abolitionists had made it impossible 
for a great nimiber of northern anti-slavery men 
who were not abolitionists, to remain on terms of 
friendship with their southern brethren. 

^Bibliotkeca Sacra, XX., 563-571; Baird, History of th* l^ew 
School. 506-558. 

' Buckley, History of the Methodists, 403-405. 




HOW far was it possible for the abolitionist to 
reach the negro and to affect the slave? So X 
far as their own direct influence went they practised 
their own doctrine of equal rights ostentatiously: 
their negro adherents travelled with them, sat upon 
the same platforms with them, ate with them, and 
one enthusiastic abolitionist white couple adopted 
a negro child. Garrison, in the Liberator, urged the 
negroes to send their children to school, to build 
up their own trade, to stand by and protect the 
fugitives, to get on the voting lists, and in every 
way to make themselves a part of the commu- 

These relations profotmdly stirred the south, part- 
ly because they went cotmter to the conventional 
belief that if both races were free, "one race must 
be driven out by the other, or exterminated, or 
again enslaved";* partly because southerners sin- 

* Garrisons, Garrison, XL, 255-258. 

' Hammond and Harper, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 88-90, 


cerely believed that the object of the abolitionists 
was an amalgamation of the two races. On the 
contrary, Jay demanded whether any person "in 
the possession of his reasoning faculties can believe 
it to be the duty of white men to select black 
wives," ' though Chamiing said of amalgamation: 
"Allowing that amalgamation is to be anticipated, 
then, I maintain, we have no right to resist it. 
Then it is not unnatural." * The southern bom 
abolitionists agreed with John Rankin: "We en- 
tirely disclaim any desire to promote or encourage 
intermarrying between the blacks and whites." * 
It was a fair inquiry, which the abolitionists did not 
hesitate to put — who was responsible for the only 
amalgamation that had so far taken place F 

The free negroes of the south the abolitionists 
could not reach except by mailing puWicatioiK to 
them, a process which fearfully exasperated the 

.south without reaching the persons addressed. 

j_T^ slave was even further from any direct help; 
yet it was the belief of the slave-holders that efforts 
were made by incendiary publications to acquaint 
the slaves with the fact that they had friends in 
the north and to arouse their passions against their 
masters. Abolitionists were accused of slipping 
printed handkerchiefs, bearing anti-slavery cuts, 
into bales designed for the southern markets, and 

' Jay, Miscellantoui Wriltngs, 146. 

• Channing, Works, V., 57. 

• Niks' RegisUr, XXXVI., 461. 


of mailing prints and pictures depicting the cruel- 
ties of slavery and the delights of emandpation. 
The south could not understand that the annual 
anti-slavery almanac, with its crude wood-cuts of 
floggings and kidnappings, was meant to reach and 
educate the children of northern people. The pict- 
ures would undoubtedly have been suggestive had 
they reached the slaves, but there is no well-au- \/ 
thenticated case in which such materials were found ^ 
in the hands of slaves. The nearest approach was 
the discovery of a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin in 
the house of a free negro in Maryland just before 
the Civil War, and the danger was then and there 
stopped by sending him to the penitentiary.* 

The abolitionists were also charged with trying 
to bring about slave insurrections. In September, 
1829, a southern free negro in Boston issued a 
pamphlet called Walker*s Appeal, of which the 
tone was unmistakable. "For although the de- 
struction of the oppressors God may not effect by 
the oppressed, yet the Lord our God will bring other 
destructions upon them — for not imfrequently will 
he cause them to rise up one against another, 
to be split, divided, and to oppress each other, 
and sometimes to open hostilities with sword in 
hand." » 

Walker's pamphlet is known to have reached 
Virginia, and may possibly have influenced the Nat 

* Brackett, Negro in Maryland, 226. 

' Garrisons, Garrison, I., 159-162; Walker's Appeal, 5. 


Turner insurrection of 1831, the most dangerous 
incident in the history of that period. Nobody had 
any suspicion of Nat Turner, an obscure slave in 
Southampton County, Virginia, though he was a 
preacher, and could read and write. For several 
years Nat was making preparations to ravage the 
country, raise the slaves, and take refuge in the 
Dismal Swamp. August 21, 1831, with six des- 
perate companions, he rose and spared not a white 
soul on the plantations that were visited ; his force 
quickly increased to sixty men, and would have 
probably spread like mldfire but for poor general- 
ship on Nat's part. Before the insurrection could 
be headed, sixty white people had been killed. 
Within forty-eight hours militia were raised and 
United States troops were called.' On the first day 
of resistance over a hundred blacks were killed, 
and the bloody work continued for some time. Be- 
sides unnumbered floggings, 53 negroes in all were 
put on trial, of whom 21 were acquitted, 12 con- 
victed and sold out of the state, and 20, including 
Nat Turner and one woman, were convicted and 
hailed. For a long time the excitement and law- 
lessness continued. Charity Bowery said: "The 
brightest and best men were killed in Nat's time. 
Such ones are always suspected. All the colored 
folks were afraid to pray, in the time of the Old 
Prophet Nat. There was no law about it; but the 
whites reported it round among themselves, that if 
' Ffdtrat Aid in DomiOic Disturbance, 56. 


a note was heard, we shoiild have some dreadful 
punishment." * 

1 The Nat Turner insurrection shook slavery to its ^ , 
f oun3ations ; the fact that Nat, though he bore some ^ 
marks of ill-usage, had not been treated with special 
cruelty proved that kindness did not bring content ; 
since the plot went on for months without suspi- 
cion, similar movements might be pending in any 
community. Turner had been joined by slaves not 
previously recruited, so that no one coidd tell how 
far a rising, once started, might sweep. The heavy 
destruction of property and of innocent life, both 
white and black, suggested some new form of pro- 
tection, more severe laws against the assembling 
of negroes, against their learning to read and write, 
and against any form of anti-slavery agitation by 
white people. Though negroes thereafter were oc- 
casionally whipped, shot, or burned on suspicion 
of a plot, no other serious rising occurred until 
the John Brown raid at Harper's Ferry in 1859.' 
Inasmuch as the Liberator became known in the 
south at the time of the Nat Turner insiurection, 
the cry was raised that the two things had a con- 
nection, although in the prison confession of Nat 
Turner there is not the slightest reference to either 

* Child, Letters from New York (2d series), 55; Cutler, Lynch 
Law, 92-96; Higginson, Travellers and Outlaws, 276 — 326; 
Drewry, Slave Insurrections in Virginia. 

* Life of Benjamin Lundy, 246; Liberator , 1831, 1832, passim; 
Olmsted, Back Country , 473; Olmsted, Texas Journey, 503; 
Chambers, Am. Slavery and Colour, 205. 



^^^^^the Liberator or Walker's Appeal. Garrison him- 
V self absolutely denied any relation with the insurrec- 

I tion,' and there is neither direct proof nor indirect 

I reference which fixes on the abohtiomsts any share 

■ in that insurrection. 

I Warned by the Vesey and Turner insurrections, 

I the militia in several states was reorganized; and 

B special precautions were taken at fires, because it 

P was commonly believed that discontented slaves 

often set them.' To be sure, the apologists for sla- 
very attempted to minimize a terror which might be 
considered out of keeping with the argument that 
the slaves were happy and contented. Professor 
Dew declared that "the population of oiu- slave- 
holding country enjoys as much or more conscious 
security than any other people on the face of the 
globe! ... A negro will rob your hen-roost or your 
stye, but it is rare, indeed, that he can ever be in- 
duced to miirder you. Upon this subject we speak 
from experience." * This confident assertion was 
out of harmony with the frequent alarms and con- 
sequent resort to lynch law, with the tenor of the 
statutes intended to prevent and suppress risings, 
and with the utterances of southerners themselves. 
A lady in Georgia said that " there was not a person 
on her plantation she dared trust her life with; and 
. . . she never retired at night without an axe so 

' Garrisons, Garrison, I., »5i. 

* Simms, in Pro-Slauery Argument, toa-toj. 

* Dew, in Pro^laoery Argument, 481. 


near her pillow she could lay her hand upon it 
instantly"; and Buckingham notes that in no part 
of the south " did the whites seem to be in a great- 
er dread of the rising of the slaves than here in 
Louisiana." * 

How far did abolition indirectly tend to excite 
insurrections ? May, in 1 83 5 , said, rather as a proph- 
ecy than a suggestion : " If we do not emancipate 
our slaves by ottr own moral energy, they will eman- 
cipate themselves and by a process too horrible . . . 
to contemplate";' but many of the aboUtionists 
expressly disclaimed any such purpose, and Chan- 
ning even declared that it was the duty of the north 
to aid the south against such a rising.' 

The abolitionist seemed to the south capable of 
any wicked course, because he systematically helped 
the slaves to run away. The federal fugitive-slave \/ 
law of 1793* was never popular in the north, and 
the abolitionists by ttuns derided its validity and 
ignored it — ^though a kind-hearted Boston clergy- 
man. Dr. Gannett, publicly declared that if a 
fugitive slave came to his door, he should feel it his 
duty to timi him over to the authorities." Dr. 
Channing, for himself, held that it was his duty, if 
applied to, to shelter the fugitive, though he said 
he drew back at reaching down to the south and 

* Burke, Reminiscences, 156; Buckingham, Slave States, I., 375. 
' Liberator, V., 59. 

•Tappan and Rankin, in Niles* Register, XLVI., 360; Jay. 
Miscellaneous Writings, 148-152; Channing, Works, V., 28. 

* See chap, xix., below. • May, Recollections, 367. 



persuadir^ the slave to become a fugitive.' Some 
abolitionists did not stick even at that dangerous 
undertaking. In 1841, Thompson. Burr, and Work, 
Illinois abolitionists, were captured red - handed 
when they "made a tour of mercy into Missouri" 
by trying to persuade slaves to escape from the 
town of Palmyra ; for this crime they served several 
years in the Missouri penitentiary. Even there, 
however, they lost no opportunity to talk with the 
slaves who drifted into that place on the question 
of liberty, and even to make plans with them for 
running away north.' 

The fugitives not only gave the abolitionists 
pleasure — they gave pain to the slave-holder. In 
a thinly settled and wooded region like the south, 
with motmtains in the neighborhood, it was not 
difficult for a slave to slip away from the plantation 
into the woods or the swamps. An altercation with 
the overseer, the promise of a whipping, or a mere 
love of his own way started many a slave into this 
practice. Most of such runaways simply "lay out" 
in the woods or swamps for a time,* where it was 
easy for a fugitive in a few minutes to be beyond 
the reach of inmiediate recovery. These " outljang 
slaves" were likely to come back at night to the 
negro quarters, where they got food and comfort; 

< Chaining. Works. II., 77. V., 23-28. 319-322. 
'Thompson. Prison Life. 159, 168, 335. 344. 348, 367, 
'Edwards, "Two Runaways." inCwKorj'.X., 378-387; Borlee, 
Rtmimscencts, 163-168. 


but most of them were forced by hardships and 
hunger to yield at last and "take their whipping." 
The Dismal Swamp, in eastern North Carolina, was 
a favorite rendezvotis for such runaways ; there they 
brought up their children, and even got employment 
from negro Itunbermen or the neighboring poor 

Nothing was more common in the southern news- 
papers than advertisements of runaways; the rude 
wood-cut of a negro with a bundle sltmg over his 
shoulder from a stick was a part of the country 
printing-office, and many interesting details of slave 
life are recorded by this imconsciotis evidence. For 
example : 

"Ran away, a negro girl, called Mary; has a 
small scar over her eye, a good many teeth missing. 
The letter A is branded on her cheek and forehead.'* 

"Ran away, negress, Caroline; had on a collar 
with one prong ttuned down." ' 

"Ran away! Billy is twenty-five years old, and 
is known as a patroon of my boat for many years ; 
in all probability he may resist; in that event, 
$50.00 will be paid for his head." • 

Very little attempt was made to find a runaway 

* Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States ^ 159. 

' Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 484; many such advertisements 
in Child, Patriarchal Institution; Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States, 

'From the Charleston Courier, February 20, 1836; similar 
incidents in the Life of Benjamin Lundy, 53; Chambers, Am. 
Slofoery and Colour, 200-202, 


through his friends; for the negroes almost univer- 
sally aided their own race. If advertising failed, 
the next step was to hunt with dogs, and professional 
slave-catchers advertised blood-hounds that "can 
take the trail twelve hours after the negro has 
passed and catch him with ease," The use of the 
"nigger dogs" was distasteful to the north, but was 
not in itself an inhuman method of finding the 
fugitive, though some slave-holders looked on it as 
"a kind o' barbarous sport." The difficulty was 
that the dogs were sometimes allowed to tear their 
captiu^s (not sufficiently to injure their market 
value) when taken, and that the fury of the pur- 
suers and the despair of the quarry sometimes led 
to resistance and to shooting.' When brought back, 
it was usual to make an example, especially if the 
slave had been out a long time; and the annals of 
the time are full of cases where slaves carried for 
the rest of their lives the record of the master's 
resentment; they were then put in heavy iron 
shackles or collars, partly as a ptmishment and 
partly to prevent escape, and sometimes they suf- 
fered more direct tortures, such as draiving out the 

Perhaps one in twenty of the slaves who broke 
away was so well informed or so bold as to set forth 

'0\mst^, Seaboard Slave Slates, 1631 GkaattA, Back Coutitry, 
55. 474- 

* Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, tga-i9$, 308-310; nar- 
rativca of slaves, enumerated in ch^. xzit., below. 


with the ptirpose of never seeing the plantation 
again. In a very few cases, such fugitives were 
incited or aided by northern men who went south 
for that purpose. Besides Burr, Work, and Thomp- 
son, sent to the penitentiary,* one John L. Brown was 
sentenced to death, in 1846 (a sentence commuted 
to whipping), for aiding fugitives; and the Shaker 
abolitionist, Concklin, carried off the Still family of 
four persons from Florence, Alabama, into Indiana.' 
In a later period, John Brown, of Ossawatomie, 
crossed into Missouri and helped fugitive slaves 
away.' Slaves carried into the northern states by 
their masters as personal attendants sometimes 
slipped away and never rettimed, imless the master 
had taken the precaution to keep some of the 
slave's children behind. 

The fugitive slaves were surrotmded by a host of 
watchful enemies ; tmless provided with a forged pass 
for this occasion, most of them were stopped within 
ten miles of home and ttimed back by the patroUers.* 
This danger escaped, every unknown negro found 
wandering about the country was subject to being 
taken up and imprisoned, tmtil his captors could 
advertise him and find his people. If he got clear 
away from his country or state, he was still far from 
liberty; he might find his way to some southern 

' See above, p. 222. 

' Pickard, Kidnapped and Ransomed, 280-305, 398-409. 
•Chadwick, Causes of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XIX.) i 
chap. V. * See above, chap. viii. 



town or city and there set up as a freeman, but every 
negro perfectly knew the danger of recapture under 
such circumstances, and most of the determined 
fugitives directed their footsteps north. "We saw 
the North Star," said Harriet Tubman, "and that 
told us which way to go." Many escaped by sea; 
most of the coasters had negro cooks or stewards 
who could often be induced by sympathy or for a 
bribe to receive the fugitive and deliver him in a 
northern port. In the interior, the negro must 
make his own way from place to place, ignorant of 
geography and of distance, and chiefly dependent 
upon the aid of members of his own race: and he 
■found the great belt of wooded mountains stretching 
from northern Alabama to Pennsylvania a natural 

Once across the border, and sometimes before he 
reached it, the negro entered upon a concealed and 
intricate system of routes, to which the name " Un- 
dergroimd Railroad" was commonly applied. The 
term suggests not only a route, but termini, train- 
men, and general officials. There was, however, 
never any general association, handly so much as a 
definite understanding between the abolitionists who 
carried on this forbidden traffic; nor did the con- 
ductors and station-masters know all the links in 
the routes which ran past, or rather into, their doors. 
The "U. G." can be traced back to informal com- 
mittees formed in several of the northern cities ; and 
two veterans in this service — Still, in Philadelphia, 


and the Quaker, Levi Coffin, in Cincinnati — ^kept a 
record of the business that went through their 

The Underground Raikoad had an advertising 
agency in the understanding, which somehow per- 
meated the slaves in the southern states, that if 
they once crossed into the free states they would 
find friends who would forward them from place 
to place, tmtil they were free from pursuit or 
arrived at the haven of Canada. To reach these 
friends every possible method was employed : Henry 
Box Brown permitted himself to be nailed up in a 
packing-case and sent by freight to Philadelphia; 
another hid himself tmder the guards of a coasting 
steamer, enduring days of htmger and chill. Ellen 
Crafts, a very light woman, impersonated a white 
planter, while her husband played the r61e of per- 
sonal attendant. As she expected, she was called 
upon at the Baltimore station to make a written 
statement as to her companion, but she could not 
write, and had boimd up her arm on the pretence 
that it was injured. In a few hours they not only 
escaped, but were entertained as heroes, and their 
freedom was soon purchased for them. In one 
instance, three slaves who had some money asso- 
ciated themselves together, hired a travelling coach, 
bribed a white man to act as their master, and 
actually drove in state from slavery into freedom.' 

' Still, Underground Railroad; Coffin, Reminiscences; Siebert, 
Underground Railroad, * McDougall , Fugitive Slaves, { { 6 7-^9 . 


I The Underground Railroad was not a route, but 
' a nef-work; not an organization, but a conspiracy 
I'V of thousands of people banded together for the 
deliberate purpose of depriving their southern neigh- 
bors of their property and of defying the fugitive- 
slave laws of the United States. The geographical 
area of these operations extended from Maine to 
Kansas; the routes north of New York began at 
the seaports and Ik-ended towards Canada; in the 
neighborhood of Philadelphia there was a complexus 
of routes diverpng from two trunk lines, one through 
Baltimore and the other through Gettysburg. West 
of the motintains the Underground Railroad was 
much more flourishing, both because of the hundreds 
of miles of contiguity between the free and slave 
states, and because the Ohio River was a highway 
from one part of the south to another much used by 
masters and slave-dealers. More than thirty points 
have been traced on the line of the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi rivers where fugitives were received and for- 
warded. Once on the road, they were carried, 
commonly at night, by short stages from house to 
house, concealed during the day, and sent to sure 
places of refuge.' 

In some cases the master himself followed; in 
other cases he "sold his nigger running" — that is, 
transferred the title to a person, often a professional 
slave-catcher, who had never seen the slave before, 
and had no other interest than to get him back and 
' Siebert, Undfrgrottnd Railroad, passim. 


sell him at a profit. This practice, with its cold, 
commercial calculation, in which there was so lit- 
tle of the patriarchal and dignified aspect of 
slavery, accented the law - breaking spirit of the 

Though hundreds of people were perfectly well 
known to harbor slaves,' in order to throw suspicion 
off the scent, younger members of the family, boys 
or girls, were often employed to drive through the 
woods with a fugitive. The Underground Railroad 
was manned chiefly by orderly citizens, members of 
churches and philanthropical societies. To such 
law-abiding folk what could be more del^htful than 
the sensation of aiding an oppressed slave, exas- 
perating a cruel master, and at the same time 
incurring the penalties of defying an unrighteous 
law ? The Underground Railroad furnished the 
pleasures of a hunt in which the trembling prey was 
saved from his brutal pursuers; the excitement of a 
fight in which there was little personal danger; and 
the joy of the martyr's crown without the faggot. 
Himdreds of people deliberately engaged in this 
work who were not enrolled as abolitionists, and 
thousands of other people would not lift a hand to 
help a master recover a slave within a free state. 
After the British abolition act took effect, in 1840, \ 
the soil of Canada became absolutely tree, and the 
British government would not take the slightest 

nthe •■ 


pains to asast in returning fugitives. Canada, 
therefore, was a sure refuge, and many of the routes 
of the Underground Railroad tenninated on the 
Canadian border or on the Great Lakes, acrosB 
which there were secret ferries. The nucleus of a 
n^ro settlement was made here by an exodus of 
negroes from Ohio, about i8ai,and in Canada West, 
between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, four or five 
n^ro settlements sprang up, to which recruits were 
sent from cities in the states as well as from the 

The number of persons aided by this system can 
only be guessed. I Official figures in the census of 
1850 and i860 showed a loss of about a thousand 
slaves a year ; but twelve to thirteen hiuidred a year 
passed through the Underground Railroad in OWo 
alone, and three to four hundred throiigh Philadel- 
phia. In the thirty years from 1830 to i860, an 
averagd^rf perhaps two thousand slaves a year got 
away from their masters, of whom perhaps a tenth 
lost themselves in the south and another tenth 
got to Canada. This would leave about fifty thou- 
sand negroes who, in the fifty years, took to them- 
selves wings and flew away to the free states. 
As most of the fugitives were grown people, the 
money loss to the south was, first and last, perhaps 
thirty million dollars. Nevertheless, it did not se- 
riously affect the value of the slaves except in the 

' Life of Benjamin Lundy, 140. 351-354; May, RKolUctions, 
303-305; S. G. Howe, Refugees from Slavery. 





border counties of the border states. The Under- 
ground Railroad, therefore, was calculated not so 
much to weaken slavery as to strengthen the anti- 
slavery feeling throughout the northern states.* 

' On interstate difficulties, arising out of slavery, see chap, xix., 



ALL the relations of the abolitionist to the negro 
L were intended to bear upon the one purpose of 
^ affecting the master either by " moral suasion " or 
by arousing public sentiment against him. Garri- 
son deliberately chose the latter method, and asked, 
" What has been so efficacious as this hard language ? 
... its strength of denunciation bears no proportion 
to the enormous guilt of the slave system." ' Al- 
though not one planter in a thousand ever heard an 
abolitionist speak, and not one in a himdred ever 
read an abolitionist book or paper, this habitual 
harshness aroused the fiercest resentment ; the rank 
/'' and file of the abolitionists were " silly enthusiasts 
led away by designing characters " ; the leaders were 
"mere ambitious men . . . who cloak their designs 
imder vile and impious hypocrisies, and unable to 
shine in higher spheres, devote themselves to fanati- 
cism as a trade." * Calhoun said of them: "It is 
against this relation between the two races that the 
blind and criminal zeal of the Abolitionists is directed 

' Garrisons, Garrison. I., 336. 

■ Hammond, in Pro-Slavery ArgumenI, 173. 


— a relation that now preserves in quiet and secu- 
rity more than 6,500,000 human beings." * Even so 
moderate a slave-holder as Henry Clay wrote, " Abo- 
lition is a delusion which cannot last ... in pursuit 
of a principle ... it tmdertakes to tread down and 
trample in the dust all opposing principles however 
sacred. It arrays state against state. To make the 
black men free it would virtually enslave the white 

Though "moral suasion" had been going on ever 
since the days of Justice Sewall, slavery was gaining 
ground steadily ; and Garrison scored a point when 
he drew up a roll of abolitionists known for their 
habitual moderation of tone, and asked, "Of the 
foregoing list, who is viewed with complacency or 
preferred over another by slave holders or their 
apologists ?" * No arguments against slavery pleased 
the southerners, and no mildness of statements could 
reconcile them to an habitual questioning of the 
justice of their practice. A champion of slavery 
wrote, " Supposing that we were all convinced and 
thought of slavery precisely as you do, at what era 
of * moral suasion ' do you imagine you could prevail 
on us to give up a thousand millions of dollars in the 
value of our slaves, and a thousand millions of dol- 
lars more in the depreciation of our lands?" * 

* Calhotm, Works, V., 205. 

' Clay to Gibson, July, 184a, Colton, Private Corresp. of Clay, 
464. ■ Garrisons, Garrison, L, 461. 

* Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 141. 


.Perhaps a stronger argument for the abandonment 
V' of moral suasion was that the south would have none 
"V^ of it from its own people, who could speak from ex- 
' perience, and could appreciate the difficulties of the 
slave-holder. To prevent discussion in print the 
legislatures enlarged the existing press laws of the 
south against anything which might have a tendency 
to cause dissatisfaction among slaves. By the Geor- 
gia code of 183s. publications which tended to incite 
insurrections were punishable by death.' The Vir- 
ginia code of 1849 provided that, " If a free person 
by speaking or writing, maintain that owners have 
no right of property in their slaves, he shall be con- 
fined in jail not more than one year and fined not 
exceeding $500." * Cassius M. Clay's anti-slavery 
paper. The True American, was driven out of Lex- 
ington byan organization of citizens.* The religious 
societies of the north fotmd it impossible to carry on 
their work in the south except throi^h southern 
men; and northern, and even English books con- 
taining criticisms were not allowed to circulate. In 
1856 a member of a Texas legislature was threatened 
with " consequences to which we need not allude " for 
saying, in his place in the house, that the "Congress 
of the United States had the constitutional right to 
legislate on the subject of : lavery in the territories."* 

' NiUs' Register. XLVIII., 441. 

' Virginia Code, i84g. chap, cxcviii., | 12, 

> Kites' Register, LXVIII., 408; Oay. Memoirs. 

* Olmsted, Texas Jowmey, 504-506. 


Threats of dire punishment if abolitionists showed 
themselves in the south were frequent. An Ala- 
bama minister wrote : " Let your emissaries dare to 
cross the Potomac, and I cannot promise you that 
your fate will be less than Haman's." A very few ^' 
abolitionists from the north tested these threats. 
In 1835, Dr. Reuben Crandall, of New York, re- 
ceived some copies of the Emancipator and other 
anti-slavery papers at Washington, which he lent 
to a white friend. He was thereupon arrested and 
imprisoned on the charge of attempting to excite 
insurrection and riot among the slaves. After eight 
months in jail he was tried and found not guilty. 
Charles T. Torrey, a graduate of Yale and Andover 
Theological Seminary, and an abolitionist speaker 
and writer, went to Annapolis in 1842 to report a 
"Slave-holders' Convention," for which he was 
arrested and obliged to give bail. Subsequently, 
Torrey was convicted of assisting slaves to escape, 
and died a prisoner in a Virginia penitentiary.* 

Seldom did such offences come to trial : they were 
prevented by threats of punishment or dealt with 
by a mob violence. The Liberator claimed that 
from 1836 to 1856 about three himdred white people 
were mobbed and killed in the south on suspicion 
of being abolitionists. No such number of authen- 
ticated cases can be traced ; and those that did occur 
were usually of people suspected of trying to run off 

* Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery ^ 411, 437, 441-443; Buck- 
ingham, Slave States, I., 531. 



slaves, a very different offence.' The principal cases 
which attracted attention were the following. Rob- 
inson, an Enghsh travelling bookseller, was whipped 
and driven out of Petersburg, Virginia, in 1832, for 
saying that "the blacks, as men, were entitled to 
their freedom and ought to be emancipated." John 
Lamb was tarred and feathered, badly binned, and 
whipped for taking the Liberator. Amos Dresser, a 
student of Lane Seminary and of Oberlin, in 1835, 
while on a colporteur trip to the south, wrapped a 
copy of the Emancipator around a Bible which he 
left at an inn in Nashville, and was found in posses- 
son of an anti-slavery paper with one of the so- 
called incendiary pictures, for which he was severely 
whipped and expelled from the south,* 

Not satisfied with denimciation or legislation or 
the quieting effect of enlightened public opinion 
combined with mob violence, the south came out- 
side of its breastworks and set up a new principle of 
federal responsibility by demanding that the north- 
em states find means to stop the odious movement ; 
and a succession of public meetings, executive mes- 
sages, and reports of legislative committees empha- 
sized these demands. Thus the legislature of South 
Carolina, in 1835, " announces her confident expecta- 
tion and she earnestly requests, that the government 
of these [non-slave-holding] States will promptly and 
effectually suppress all those associations within 

' Cutler, Lynch Law, loo-ioj, 115-134. 

' Lije of Benjamin Lundy, 3i%-~2%i); Amos Dresser, Narraliv*. 


their respective limits purporting to be abolition 
societies " ; and the North Carolina legislature called 
for " penal laws prohibiting the printing within their 
respective limits all such publications as may have a 
tendency to make our slaves discontented." * 

I Jo m ake these requests effective, demands were \ 
repeatedly put for a boycott against northern cities 
which permitted abolition meetings.' The Charles- 
ton Patriot recommended its citizens to trade with 
Philadelphia as " the only Northern city which has 
responded in a proper spirit to the call of the South 
on the North for energetic action." • The highest 
point in these demands was reached in a message of 
Governor McDuffie to the South Carolina legislature 
in 183s, in which he inveighed against the abolition 
literature, expressing it as his "deliberate opinion, 
that the laws of every community should punish 
this species of interference by death without bene- 
fit of clergy." * 

Though abolition was tabooed in the south, the 
American Colonization Society, with a large cli- 
entile of state and local branches, supported by /(^ 
the churches, and receiving indirect money aids 
from the national government, was put forth as the 
real and only practicable measure for ameliorating 
African slavery, and had adherents and support 

> Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 413. 
*Von Hoist, United States, II., 111-113. 
^NUes' Register, XLIX., 74. 
* Von Hoist, United States, II.. 118. 

▼OL. XVI. — 16 



there till the Civil War. To be sure, in the second 
decade of colonizing activity", from 1831 to 1840, 
only 2403 emigrants were actually sent to Africa;' 
but the idea of colonization captivated both slave- 
holder and reformer: the former by the assurance 
that the despised free negro was to disappear, the 
latter by declarations that the colonizationists de- 
sired " to hasten as far as they can the period when 
slavery shall cease to exist."' The same contra- 
diction was carried into Africa: the degraded free 
negro, when settled in Liberia, was to stop the - 
slave-trade and to be the centre of a movement of 
civilization and of missionary activity.* So alluring 
was this idea of giving the negro an opportunity to 
develop a community of his own, that Benjamin 
Limdy, from 1832 to 1836. was constantly engaged 
in plans of a negro colony in Texas,* and actually 
carried over to Haiti a small number of negroes, 
who founded an unsuccessful colony. 
.' The African settlements did not flourish: one 
ifter another the agents succumbed to disease ; the 
various little settlements united into the " Common- 
/ weath of Liberia," at first governed by the Ameri- 
can Colonization Society; but in 1847 it took on it- 
self the form of an independent government, which 
received the few colonists sent out by the society. 

' African Rgposilory, XLJlh, 110-112; Alexander, History of 
Colonization, passim. 

' Maryland Society, in McPherson, Liberia, 53. 

' McPherson. Liberia. 53-59. 

* Life of Benjamin Lundy. 30-16S, passim. 


It was never prosperous, and furnished a stock 
argument that tmder the most favorable conditions 
negroes could not keep up a government of their 

' At home, the society encoimtered the most de- 
termined opposition from the abolitionists. Garri- \jf^ 
son, in his pamphlet Thoughts on African Coloniza- 
tion, published in 1832, criticised their colonies, 
accused them of trying to maintain slavery, and 
declared that the society "imperatively and effect- 
ually seals up the lips of a vast ntunber of influential 
and pious men." * The attack came at a critical 
time, when a plan had been formed to secure an 
annual appropriation of $240,000 from Congress, by 
which it was estimated the negroes could all be 
carried out of the country in twenty-eight years; 
but when the project was presented to Congress, the 
southern members almost unanimously objected.* 

Colonization never really approved itself either 
to north or south, f The south pooh-poohed at its 
small results, predicVed^ts failure, and abjured fed- 
eral aid to help them out of the difficulty ; * and im- 
partial observers thought the Colonization Society 
contained too many slave-holding members and did 
not accomplish anything for its ostensible object.* 
Throughout the period the two organizations were 
at war with each other. The colonizationists gave 

* Garrisons, Garrison, I.. 290-302. * Ibid., 261. 303. 

* Dew, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 30 1-4 20. 

* Reed and Matheson, Narrative, II., 258. 


blow for blow, publicly attacked Garrison, and 
intimated that he ought to be tumei:! over to the 
civil authorities of some southern state; and the 
abolitionists scoffed at the fruitlessness of their 
rivals' efforts.' 

As for general emancipation, immediate or re- 
mote, its difficulties and its dangers were clearly 
realized by many impartial observers. Some cal- 
culated the immense sums that would be necessary 
to compensate the owners for their slaves.* The 
planters themselves foresaw nothing but ruin for 
both races: the cultivation of cotton would cease; 
race war would break out ; emancipation could not 
last, for "the law would make them freemen, and 
custom or prejudice, we care not which you call it, 
would degrade them to the condition of slaves"; 
when the slaves were gone the land would be worth- 
less; the free negroes would rapidly increase, and 
the white population correspondingly decrease.* 
These objections applied with equal strength to 
gradual emancipation ; for when the slave property 
" is gone, no matter how, the deed will be done, and 
Virginia will be a desert." * Hence, emancipation 
of any kind would be fatal unless the negroes were 
all to be deported, for the free negroes would be 
driven out by white competition.* The argument 

* Garrisons, Garrison. I.. 334, 
' Von Raiuner, A merica , 1 1 ; . 

• Harper and Dew, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 85-88, 357-376, 
433-436, 444; AdaiDS, Southside Vitv), ii()--iai. 

*7Wd.. 384. •Lyell, Travels, ist Rcries, I,. 191. 


focuses in the conclusion that " every plan of eman- 
cipation and deportation ... is totally impracti- 
cable." ' 

Against this battery of argument the abolitionists 
were conscientiously obtuse: they saw no loss to 
the community from employing free negroes in fields 
where they had labored as slaves, except the power 
of exchange into other forms of property ; the expe- 
rience, on a smaller scale, of the northern states con- 
vinced them that it was perfectly possible to get rid 
of slavery without disturbance of the business or 
safety of the commtmity; and they did not for a 
moment believe that the negroes would cut the 
throats of their former masters and mistresses. As 
for the invective of the south, the abolitionists were* 
of the mind of Major Jack Downing : " I met a man 
from Georgia there, 6 feet 9 inches high, a real good 
fellow. Most all these Southern folks are good fel- 
lows, if you don't say nothin' about the tariff, nor 
freein the niggers; but they talk pretty big — I 
know how to manage them, the Gineral tell'd me a 
secret about that — says he 'Major, when they say 
they can hit a dollar, tell 'em you can hit a four- 
pence hapenny.'" ' 

' Dew, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 292, 379-384. 
* Davis, Letters of Major J, Downing, 35. 




THE abolitionist leaders did not depend on a 
moral agitation alone; they b^an at once to 
use the ordinary methods of appeals to their state 
governments, secured the early personal liberty 
laws,' and agitated with some success against the 
. black codes. Though eventually some extremists 
arrived at the point of denying that any process of 
law could make a man another man's chattel, most 
of the abolitionists accepted the principle laid down 
in their declaration of 1833 — "the sovereignty of 
each state to legislate exclusively on the subject of 
the slavery which is tolerated within its limits." * 
Any other principle would limit the right of the 
northern states to njaintain their freedom. 

To their own state governments the abolitionists 
looked also for the protection which "causes" of 
every kind received. Prison reformers, prohibition- 
ists, and Mormons argued, published, and declaimed ; 
why not abolitionists? But as soon as they at- 
tracted the attention of the south, they found en- 
' See chap, xix., below. » Garrisons, Garrison, I.. 411- 


emies at home: the commiinity was shocked by 
what they thought the antics of the abolitionists, 
their loud and violent speeches, the association of 
women, the exaltation of the negroes, who were the 
most despised element in the northern as well as 
the southern states. And in financial and manufact- 
uring circles a pocket nerve was touched by the 
outcries of people who had cotton to sell and heavy 
orders to give. 

For a time people proposed to draw the fangs of 
abolition by showing that good people disliked it. 
John Quincy Adams records in 1835 that "Mr. 
Abbott Lawrence told me that they were going to 
have a very great meeting at Boston to put down 
the anti- slavery abolitionists";* and great law- 
yers like Rufus Choate, statesmen like Van Buren 
and Buchanan, frontier leaders like Lewis Cass, 
alternately pooh - poohed and scolded at the abo- 

The demand of southern legislatures for action 
by their northern brethren caused an effort to dis- 
cover, in existing law, a means of shutting off this 
unwelcome discussion. Governor Edward Everett, 
of Massachusetts, intimated to the legislature that 
" whatever by direct and necessary operation is cal- 
culated to excite insurrection among the slaves, 
has been held, by highly respectable legal authority, 
an offence against the peace of this Commonwealth, 
which may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor at com- 

' Garrisons, ^arrwn, I., 487. 


mon law." ' And a rural grand jury in New York 
made a presentment to the effect that those who 
joined in an abolition society were guilty of sedi- 

\,To_ maintain such a position was impossible in the 
. / face of the bills of rights in all the state constitu- 
tions, protecting liberty of speech and of the press ; 
and in no northern state would the courts hold 
general utterances against slavery and slave-holders 
outside that state to be libellous. Hence several 
efforts to secure new laws which would cover the 
case. In New York, under a hint from Governor 
Marcy, a legislative report was made promising the 
desired legislation ;* in Rhode Island a bill was in- 
troduced, but failed. In Massachusetts a commit- 
■ tee, headed by George Lunt, which had a restric- 
tive measure in charge, was compelled by public 
sentiment to hold a hearing, in which the abolition- 
ists made it evident that they had a right and an 
intention to express their opinions even in the pres- 
ence of a legislative committee.* 

So far as the laws of the northern states went, 
not a single abolitionist seems to have laid himself 
liable to prosecution at any time. The opposition 
nevertheless expressed itself without law and in 
opposition to law, especially by interfering with 
schemes for the education of the free negroes. In 
June, 1 83 1, when an attempt was made to plant a 

i-Slavery, 415. 'Ibid., 409. 

75, *Ibid.. II.. 101-105. 


kind of manual - training school in New Haven, a 
public meeting declared that "the founding of col- 
leges for educating colored people is an imwarrant- 
able and dangerous interference with the internal 
concerns of other states, and ought to be discour- 
aged." * The school had to be given up, as did a 
similar attempt at Canaan, New Hampshire, where 
three himdred men appeared with a himdred yoke 
of oxen and pulled the school-house into a neigh- 
boring swamp.' 

Miss Prudence Crandall, at Canterbtuy, Connect- 
icut, admitted colored girls into her school. Her 
neighbors attempted to boycott her, and then to 
arrest her pupils as vagrants. As she still persisted, 
they procured a special act of the legislature. May 
24, 1833, prohibiting, tmder severe penalties, the 
instruction of any negro from outside the state 
without the consent of the town authorities, tmder 
which Miss Crandall was indicted and imprisoned. 
The abolitionists at once assumed her defence, but 
she was convicted, and though the higher cotuts 
quashed the proceedings on technicalities, she gave 
up the contest and the school was closed.* 

( The years from 1834 to 1836 were fateful for the 
abolitionists ; throughout the coimtry, from east to 
west, swept a movement of mob violence, intended 
to silence them by terror. About twenty-five ef- 

> Niles* Register, XLI.. 88. 

* Boston Morning Post, August 18, 1835. 

■May, Recollections, 39-72. 




forts were made within a few years to break up anti- 
slavery meetings, and the cry was raiset] that unless 
the abolitionists were silenced the Union could not 
continue.' In New York the trouble began with 
appeals from the newspapers to show that New 
York was not infested with abolitionists, leading 
directly to a riot at Clinton Hall, October, 1833, 
when the place selected for an abolitionist meeting 
was stampeded by opponents ; then from July 7 to 
II, 1834. a succession of riots led to the sacking of 
the house of Lewis Tappan and the destruction of 
other houses and churches.' 
. In Boston the trouble was brought to a head by 
the arrival, in September, 1834, of George Thomp- 
son, a powerful and refined speaker, experienced in 
the English abolition agitation,' assisted by Gar- 
rison, who expected the visitor to work, through 
public sentiment, upon state legislatures and Con- 
gress. Thompson at once showed his ability as a 
speaker, but several of his meetings were disturbed, 
and, returning to Boston, he found that he was one 
of the worst-hated men in the country,* a state of 
things hard to understand in these days of in- 
ternational comity and world congresses of philan- 
thropy. The announcement that George Thomp- 
son was to speak at a meeting of the Female Anti- 

' B. R. Curtis, in Garrisons, Garrison. I., 501. 
'Greeley, Am. Conflict, I., ia6. 

'Garrison, Lectures of George Thompson [in England], 1836; 
George Thompson, Speech delivered at . , . Broadmcad (1851). 
' Garrisons, Gom'jtw, I., 434-453; II., 59. 


Slavery Society, in 1835, brought out a handbill as 
follows ; 

"Thompson — the abolitionist. That infamous 
foreign scoundrel Thompson will hold forth this 
afternoon at the Liberator office, No. 48 Washing- 
ton Street. The present is a fair opportunity for 
the friends of the Union to snake Thompson out! 
It will be a contest between the abolitionists and 
the friends of the Union. A purse of $100. has 
been raised by a number of patriotic citizens to 
reward the individual who shall first lay violent 
hands on Thompson so that he may be brought 
to the tar-kettle before dark. Friends of the Union 
be vigilant!*' * 

Thompson did not attend, but Garrison did, and 
foimd the room beset by an uproarious crowd, 
whom the mayor harangued in vain; that fimc- 
tionary finally informed the ladies that he could no 
longer guarantee their safety, and when they were 
gone the crowd siu'ged in, gutted the office, and 
then began a man-htmt for Garrison. They put a 
rope around his body, dragged him through the 
streets, where, an eye-witness says, "The man 
walked with head erect, flashing eyes, like a martyr 
going to the stake, full of faith and manly hope." 
The mayor sallied forth, sheltered him in the city 
hall, and then, to save his life, sent him to the 
Charles Street jail, in which he was with difficulty 
lodged, out of the hands of the howling mob.* 

* Xiles* Register t XLIX. ,145. * Garrisons, Garrison, II., 1-37. 


This outrage overdid itself. Thereafter abolition 
meetings were sufficiently protected in Boston; but 
on the very same day came the culmination o£ a 
series of riots at Utica, New York, intended to pre- 
vent the formation of an abolition society. As in 
Boston, an anti- slavery press was wTecked; but 
Gerrit Smith received the four hundred abolitionists 
in his own house, where they completed their or- 

In 1836 a similar scene was witnessed in Cin- 
cinnati, where the office of the Philanthropist was 
gutted and desperate efforts were made to kill its 
editor, James G. Bimey. The infection still fiirther 
spread, in 1837, to Alton, Illinois, to which place 
Elijah P. Lovejoy, editor of a little abolition paper 
in St. Louis, had recently been driven for criticising 
a mob which had burned a negro at the stake. The 
people of Alton warned him to be silent ; they twice 
destroyed his press; a third time he fitted out a 
printing-office, and went on building up abolition 
societies, and a company of volunteers was formed 
to protect him. On the night of November 7, 1837, 
a mob of people attacked the building in which his 
press was stored and fired upon it ; the fire was re- 
turned, and one of the assailants was wounded ; the 
mob returned to bum the building, and deliberately 
watched for and shot Lovejoy. In due time twelve 
of them were tried for the offence, and after ten 
minutes' deliberation the jury brought them in not 
' Frothingham, Gerrit Smilh, 164-166. 


guilty. Lovejoy was honorable and high-minded, 
and his only offence was a determination to criticise 
slavery in a state where it was illegal, and to defend 
his property and life when assailed. 

The list of pro -slavery riots was enlarged by 
Philadelphia, a turbiilent and ill-policed city. In 
one such aflfair, in 1834, forty-four houses were 
injured or destroyed.* Finding it difficult to obtain 
a suitable place for abolition meetings, the anti- 
slavery people of the city in 1838 constructed a 
building called Pennsylvania Hall. May 16, 1838, 
Garrison and others addressed an audience there, 
and the next day it became known that the mob 
proposed to destroy the building. The mayor at- 
tempted to check them by good counsel, but they 
broke open the doors, set a fire, and staved off the 
firemen who came to put it out. The city authori- 
ties gave no sort of protection to property, and 
barely to life ; so far as the commonwealth and city 
were concerned, the abolitionists were outlaws. 

!lIothing could have been more favorable to the 
abofitTonists than this succession of outbreaks, which 
flashed public attention upon Garrison and Bimey 
and Lovejoy, and placed their personal character 
in the strongest contrast to the means employed 
to silence them. Mob violence emphasized the fact 
that the abolitionists were not acting contrary to 
law, and it aroused the fighting spirit of thousands 
of people who knew very little about the controversy 

' Life of Benjamin Lundy, 272. 



except that the abolitionists had something to say 
so important that it must be prevented by violence 
and murder. These were the days of triumph for 
the abolitionists, who increased in numbers and re- 
sources, and had a happy sense of shaking the whole 
institution of slavery to its centre by their impas- 
sioned utterances. 

In none of the state legislatures, previous to 1840, 
did abolitionists make much impression as mem- 
bers, and only one anti- slavery man was sent to 
Congress — William Slade, from Vermont, Thomas 
Morris, United States senator from Ohio, about 1835 
joined an abolition society and defended the cause 
in Congress.' In 1838 Slade was joined by the first 
out-and-out western abolitionist — Joshua R, Gid- 
dings, from a district in the Western Reserve; and 
before long the abolitionists founded a political or- 

So far as the influence of their best-known leader 
went, the abolitionists would never have elected a 
representative to Congress, for Garrison was infuri- 
ated by the power of the slave-holders in the national 
government, and worked out a theory to get rid of 
their domination. It was the custom of the time to 
look to the federal Constitution as a kind of political 
Bible, a cyclopsedia of public and moral law, from 
which the rightfulness or xmrightfulness of slavery 

'Garrisons, Garrison, I., 455 (northeast); c£. Von Hoist, 
United States, II., i8g; Smith, Liberty and Free Soil Parties, 
33-26 (west). 'See chap, xx., below. 


could infallibly be inferred. When the abolition- 
ists insisted that the word "slave" nowhere occurs 
in the Constitution, the other side pointed to the 
phrases "free persons or other persons," and "im- 
portation of . . . persons," and argued that the Con- 
stitution was not only compatible with slavery, but 
recognized slavery, and even gave sanction to slavery. 
Granting that the Constitution did recognize the 
existence of slavery where it existed in 1789, and 
that the statutes for admitting new states into the 
Union with slavery constitutions recognized its 
extension, the abolitionists could fall back on the 
clauses by which Congress could " exercise exclusive 
legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the seat of 
government, and could "make rules for" the ter- 
ritories, and to several acts of Congress actually 
prohibiting slavery in the territories — the act of 
1789, reaffirming the ordinance of 1787 ; the statutes 
organizing free territories in the northwest ; and the 
compromise of 18 Jo.' Congress seemed to have the 
same authority over slavery in a territory that the 
state governments had within a state ; nevertheless, 
the south denied any constitutional right to prohibit 
slavery in the District of Columbia, because it was 
created out of cessions made by Virginia and Mary- 
land ; they discovered an tmwritten principle of the 
Constitution that the south must not be humiliated 
by abolishing slavery in a district which would thus 
become a centre of abolition propaganda in the heart 
of a slave - holding area. They insisted that the 






southern states had adopted the Constitution only 
under tacit compact that slavery should not be 
disturbed by the general government. 

To offset the doctrine that the federal Constitu- 
tion maintained slavery, some of the abolitionists 
admitted that the Constitution was a pro-slavery 
document, and therefore abjured the Constitution, 
The moderate Channing declared, in 1836, that "a 
higher law than the Constitution protests against 
the act of Congress on this point. According to the 
law of nature no greater crime against human being 
can be committed than to make him a slave";' an 
argument which, perhaps, suggested Seward's later 
plea, "There is a higher law than the Constitution." * 

Garrison, in 1835, called God to witness' that " we 
are not hostile to the Constitution of the United 
States,"* but was soon carried by his non-resistance 
principles into the extreme doctrine that abolition- 
ists must withdraw themselves from a government 
which they believed to be cruel and oppressive. In 
January, 1843, he came to the point where he placed 
at the head of his paper the statement that "the 
compact which exists between the North and the 
South is a covenant with death, and an agreement 
with Hell — involving both parties in atrocious crimi- 
nality and should be immediately annulled." * He 

' Channing, Works, 11., lo, V., jgi. 

• Hart, ConUmporarUs. IV.. 58. • LiUralor. V., 1.14. 

• Garrisons, Garrison, III., 88; the reference is to the Hebrew 
prophet's " Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and 
your E^Tcement with hell shall not stand" (/saiaA.xxviii,. t8). 


even went to the point, in 1850, of offering a reso- 
lution against Longfellow's appeal to the Union: 

"Thou too, sail on, O ship of state; 
Sail on, O Union, strong and great. 

»» 1 

In 1854 he publicly burned a copy of the Constitu- 
tion, cr3ring out, " So perish all compromisers with 
tyranny!" ' 

These violent phrases have been quoted a thou- 
sand times as stating the position of " the abolition- 
ists." Actually not one abolitionist in twenty for 
a moment accepted either the dogma that the Con- X 
stitution was pro-slavery or the consequence that 
it ought to be destroyed. William Jay, the most 
active writer among the middle-states abolitionists, 
in express terms disavowed these extreme theories.' 
Salmon P. Chase, the most notable of the western 
abolitionists, was one of the main defenders of the X^ 
precisely opposite theory that the Constitution is 
an anti-slavery doctunent, which nowhere mentions, 
approves, or protects slavery, and which, like the 
Declaration of Independence and the Ordinance of 
1787, laid down principles incompatible with slavery. 
To say that the Constitution did anything more than 
to recognize that for the time being some of the 
states had slavery was, in his mind, "morally speak- 
ing, a black forgery." ^ As for the seat of govem- 

' Garrisons, Garrison, III., 280. ^Ihid., 412. 

■Jay, Miscellaneous Writings, 161-166. 

* Letter to O'ConneU, November 30, 1843 ; Argument in the Van 
Zandt Case, 1848. 

VOL. XYl. — 17 


ment, Chase went so far as to say that "slavery 
exists in the District of Columbia by virtue of un- 
constitutional acts of Congress, and may be abolish- 
ed at any time by the simple repeal of those acts " ; ' 
and he found in the Fifth Amendment, by which 
" No persons shall be deprived of their liberty or 
property without due process of law," an absolute 
prohibition upon establishing slavery in the terri- 
tories, and thereby depriving free negroes of their 

If, as Chase believed, the Constitution could be 
invoked against slavery; or if, as most of the 
abolitionists believed, the Constitution was neutral 
as to slavery in the states, but positive in the powers 
it conferred over the slave-trade, slavery in the 
District of Columbia, and slavery in the territories, 
there was every reason for standing by the Union. 
Garrison's violent language, which simply put a 
weapon into the hands of his opponents, was no 
more characteristic of abolition than the violent 
disunion talk of Thomas Cooper, president of the 
College of South Carolina.* And nothing can be 
foimd in the Liberator more antagonistic to union 
than the message of Governor McDuffie, of South 
Carolina, in 1835, when he declared that "the re- 
fusal of a state to punish these offensive proceedings 
against another, by its citizens or subjects, makes 

'Chase MSS., in Library of Congress, Diary, May 27, 1848, 
June 15. 1848, December 15. 1853. 

' Marryatt, Diary in America, ist series (Am. ed.), aoo. 


the state so refusing an accomplice in the outrage, 
and furnishes a cause of war." * From that time on 
the threat or the prediction of disruption of the 
Union was the delenda est Carthago of extreme 
speeches on both sides. 

* American History Leaflets , No. 10, p. la. 





(183 .-1840) 

FOR a long time the abolition controversy little 
disturbed the great clearing - house of public 
opinion at Washington. Not that Congress at first 
considered slavery outside of its functions or un- 
^>^ suitable for its deliberations; but from 1829 to 1835 
the country was absorbed in other questions. The 
abolitionists, however, were a folk who pressed into 
every opening where they could affect public senti- 
ment, and they adopted a system of sending peti- 
tions for emancipation in the District of Columbia 
\ to members of Congress good-natured enot^h to 

A present them. 

For some years such petitions were few in num- 
ber and excited little interest. December 12, 1831, 
John Quincy Adams presented fifteen petitions, but 
deprecated a discussion which "would lead to ill- 
will, to heart-burning, to mutual hatred . . . with- 
out accomplishing anything else." ' These petitions 
were referred to committees who reported against 
granting the prayer. In February, 1835, the House 
' Adams, Memoirs, VIII., 434, 454. 


laid upon the table such a petition, for reasons 
expressed by Wise, of Virginia : " Sir, slavery, inter- 
woven with our very political existence, is guaran- 
teed by our Constitution and its consequences must 
be borne by otir Northern brethren as resulting from 
otir system of government, and they cannot attack 
the institution of slavery, without attacking the 
institutions of the cotmtry, otir safety, and welfare." 
This was the first clear notice that discussion of 
slavery ir^ Congress was thought to be dangerous to 
the institution.* 

Meanwhile, the number of abolitionist petitions 
steadily increased; and in the House there was at 
last a member who would not only present but 
defend them. December 16, 1835, Slade, of Ver- 
mont, insisted, as a constitutional right, that an 
abolition petition should be printed, and he warned 
the House that the signers included many people not 
directly connected with the abolitionists. A week 
later he went into a long argument affirming the 
power of Congress to prohibit slavery in the District, 
and protesting against the increasing power of the 
south in national affairs. "The progress of aboli- 
tion," said he, "was necessary to preserve the bal- 
ance of the Constitution or rather to restore it." ' 

A few days later, January 7 and 11, 1836, the 

*Tremain, Slavery in Dist. of Col., 71; Debates of Congress, 
XL, 1399. 

' Cong. Globe, 24 Cong., i Sess., 48; Slade, Speech (reprint &x>m 
National Intelligencer). 


same question arose in the Senate through a mo 
V tion of Calhoun to lay upon the tabic petitions for 
the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, 
presented by Morris, of Ohio, and by Buchanan, of 
Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania petition, drawn 
up by a quarterly meeting of Quakers, set forth: 
"That, having long felt deep sympathy with that 
portion of the inhabitants of these "United States 
which is held in bondage, and having no doubt that 
the happiness and interests, moral and pecuniary, of 
both master and slave, and our whole community, 
would be greatly promoted if the inestimable right 
to liberty was extended equally to all, we contem- 
plate with extreme regret that the District of Colum- 
bia, over which you possess entire control, is ac- 
knowledged to be one of the greatest marts for the 
traffic in the persons of human beings in the known 
world, notwithstanding the principles of the Con- 
stitution declare that all men have an luialienable 
right to the blessing of liberty. We therefore ear- 
nestly desire that you will enact such laws as will 
secure the right of freedom to every human being 
residing within the constitutional jurisdiction of 
Congress, and prohibit every species of traffic in 
the persons of men, which is as inconsistent in prin- 
ciple, and inhtiman in practice, as the foreign slave 
trade." * 

The text of this petition is a sufficient comment 
on Calhoun's declaration that it was "a foul slander 
' Curtis, Buchanan, I., 336. 


on nearly one half of the states of the Union" ; and 
to his demand that it be not received, in order " that 
a stop might be put to that agitation which had pre- 
vailed in so large a section of the country and which 
tinless checked would endanger the existence of the 
Union." * March 9, 1836, Calhotm's motion was 
rejected by 36 to 10, and instead was adopted an 
ingenious compromise offered by Buchanan: "That V 
the prayer of the petition be rejected." This vote, * 
which became the practice of the Senate, avoided 
the issue of refusing consideration of respectful peti- 
tions, while giving opportunity for an emphatic 
denial of the relief desired.' 

The House was not disposed to accept this method 
of both doing and not doing; and on February 8, 
1836, a special committee was appointed, tmder the 
chairmanship of Pinckney, of South Carolina, which 
accused the abolitionists of dangerous agitation tend- 
ing to break up the Union, and recommended a 
resolution: "That all petitions, memorials, resolu- 
tions, propositions or papers relating in any way 
or to any extent whatever to the subject of slavery 
or the abolition of slavery shall, without being 
either printed or referred, be laid upon the table 
and that no fiuther action whatever shall be had 
thereon."' This so-called "gag resolution" was 

* Debates of Congress, XII., 73. 

'Tremain, Slavery in Dist. of Col., 76-80; Von Hoist, United 
States, II., 238, 242; Curtis, Buchanan, I., 315-338. 

* Niles* Register, L.,* 241-248. 



duly adopted, May 26, by a vote of 117 to 68; and 
the principle was thus laid down that no petitions 
on slavery should be brought to the attention of 
the House.' When the name of John Qmncy 
Adams was called, he cried : " I hold the resolution 
to be a direct violation of the Constitution of the 
United Slates, of the rules of this House, and of 
the rights of my constituents." ' 

Pinckney, in support of his resolution, developed 
a new kind of reasoning, that Congress had "ex- 
clusive jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever" over 
the District only if it was agreeable to the neigh- 
boring states ; that action by Congress would arouse 
the south and "endanger the Union itself"; and 
that therefore " the agitation of such questions in 
either branch of Congress" shook the confidence of 
the south in the security of their most important 
interests. * 

The issue thus presented was by no means so 
simple as Pinckney thought. Under the general 
phrase of the Constitution, "Congress shall make 
no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or . . , 
the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and 
to petition the government for a redress of griev- 
ances," * the right to petition had always been 
held to include the right to bring the petition to 
the notice of Congress, unless disrespectful in tone, 

•Tremain, Slavery in Dist. of Col.. 76; Von Hoist, United 
Slates, II,, 14$. ' AdaTas.Meutoirs,lX..3ij. 

' Niles' Register, L., 145-148. • Ameiidment I. 


or praying for tinconstitutional action. Under the 
Pinckney resolutions, it was practically held disre- 
spectful to Congress to mention slavery at all ; and 
tinconstitutional to assume that Congress had power 
of any kind with regard to slavery. 

Under the practice of the House at that time the 
rules expired at the end of every session, but the >^' 
gag resolution was easily renewed in January, 1837, 
by a vote of 129 to 69.* When the new Congress 
assembled in December, 1837, resolutions of the 
Vennont legislature were presented asking their 
representatives and senators to use their influence 
to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. By 
the doctrine of state sovereignty such resolutions 
had a different footing in Congress from the memo- 
rials of individuals ; nevertheless, most of the south- 
em members thereupon withdrew from the House J^^ 
to concert measures against fiu^ther discussion of /( 
slavery in Congress. |To this so-called " Memorable 
Secession " Rhett, of South Carolina, proposed a 
special committee to report on the best way of 
peaceably dissolving the Union ; but it finally agreed 
upon a more stringent gag resolution, which was 
passed next day by a vote of 122 to 74.' 

This policy of non-action, this attempt to ignore 
the political existence of abolitionists, required an 
equal silence on the part of the south. Neverthe- 
less, Calhoun, who had now come out as the great 

« Miles' Register, LI.. 336. 

* Cong. Globe, 25 Cong., a Sess., 41, 45. 


champion of the slave power, December 27, 1837, 
X. brought forvvard in the Senate a series of resolu- 
tions intended to fix upon the abolitionists the 
crimes of inspiring slave insurrections and endan- 
gering the Union. After premising that the states 
are "free, independent and sovereign states," Cal- 
houn's resolutions condemned "any intermeddling 
of any . . . states or a combination of their citi- 
zens with the domestic institutions and police of 
the others"; declared it "the solemn duty of the 
government to resist all attempts by one portion 
of the Union to use it as an instrument to at- 
tack the domestic institutions of another"; as* 
serted that abolition was a "manifest breach of 
faith and a violation of the most solemn obliga- 
tions, moral and religious"; and that "the inter- 
meddling of any state or states or their citizens to 
abolish slavery in this district or any of the terri- 
tories . . . would be a direct and dangerous at- 
tack on the institutions of all the slave - holding 
states." ' 
(These resolutions laid down several novel doc- 
^ trines of constitutional law: they declared agita- 
tion in free states or attempts to influence Congress 
against slavery to be breaches of the Constitution, 
and, if persisted in, sufficient ground for secession. 
One of Calhoun's colleagues protested that the resolu- 
tions "allowed groimd for discussion and that the 
subject ought not to be allowed to enter the halls of 
' Cong, Globe, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., $$. 



the Legislative Assembly."^ Morris, of Ohio, and 
Swift, of Vermont, were the only members of the Sen- 
ate to press hard against these resolutions, of which 
the essentials were adopted by test votes of 31 to 13. 

Adams's protest against the gag resolutions was 
significant ; for no other member of Congress had 
so lively a sense of the political power of the north. 
After leaving the presidency, he was, in 1830, some- 
what to his own surprise, elected to Congress for 
the district in which he lived, on the anti-Masonic 
ticket. He was quite unaware of his power in 
debate, and up to 1835 had been distinctly a pro 
slavery man; as senator, in 1807, he voted against 
the prohibition of the slave-trade; as negotiator of 
the treaty of Ghent, he insisted on compensation 
for slaves taken away by the British ; as secretary 
•f state, he turned an unfriendly ear to the over- 
tures of Great Britain for a slave-trade treaty; as 
president, he never showed any personal interest in 
the anti-slavery cause. To the day of his death he 
was never especially interested in the negro slave; 
his defiant protest against the gag resolution was 
aroused by his sense that the rights of white free- 
men were involved. 

That he was no abolitionist is clear from Garri- 
son's complaint that Mr. Adams had been " zealous 
in protesting against an effect, and yet was resolved 
not to strike at the cause." ' And on Jtme 25, 1836, 

* Cong. Globe, 24 Cong., i Bess., 57. 
' Garrisons, Garrison, II., 325. 





in a letter to a Philadelphia abolitionist, Adams 
says, "You will perceive how far short my opinions 
on the subject of American slavery fall of the 
standard which you believe to be that of the true 
faith." ' It was not slavery as an xmjust and 
demorali2!ng~system that Adams disliked so much 
as slavery as an influence paralyzing free speech 
and endangering the Union. The importance of 
Adams's position was to show that others than 
abohtionists could join in resisting what they be- 
lieved to be the encroachments of the south; and 
his position as the leader and defender of the right 
of free criticism of slavery, in and out of Congress, 
was never disputed. 

In 1838 Adams was joined in the House by 
Joshua R. Giddings, a big, burly, and fearless man, 
an energetic speaker, especially skilful in answer- 
ing questions and parrying interruptions. On enter- 
ing Congress he at once set himself deliberately to 
evade the gag resolutions and to bring slavery 
questions before Congress; he began a series of 
attacks against the slave-trade in the District of 
Columbia; he somehow introduced petitions for 
aboUtion in the District. February 13, 1839, on 
the apparently harmless question of building a 
bridge in the District, he found an opportimity to 
discuss the slave-trade, slavery, and the right of 
petition. The Seminole War, which broke out about 
this time, also furnished him ammunition for de- 
' Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 190a, p. 457. 


bates on the question of pajnnent for fugitive slaves 
who had taken refuge with the Indians; and he 
wrote a book which proved to his own satisfaction 
that the war was waged for the sole purpose of re- 
enslaving these fugitives.* 

Giddings complained that " our Northern friends 
are, in fact, afraid of these Southern bullies.*' * 
Blade, of Vermont, and Gates, of New York, were the 
only House members who stood by Giddings and 
Adams. Daniel Webster was the leading northern 
Whig, and upon nullification vigorously represented 
his section. Upon another subject Webster publicly 
expressed an opinion in 1830: "I regard domestic 
slavery as one of the greatest evils, both moral and 
political." * In the Senate debates on petitions, in 
1836, he held that it was the duty of Congress "to 
take care that the authority of this government is 
not brought to bear upon it [slavery] by any in- 
direct interference"; but that the north was unan- 
imous in believing that Congress had power over 
slavery in the District.'* A little later he more 
boldly annoimced as to slavery that he would "do 
nothing ... to favor or encourage its further exten- 
sion " ; and with regard to abolition, that the subject 
" has taken strong hold on the consciences of men — 
to coerce it into silence. ... I know nothing, even in 
the Constitution or in the Union itself which wotild 

> Julian, Giddings, 29, 52-101, passim, 365-369. 

» Ibid., 53. • Webster, Works, III., 279. 

*Ibid., IV.. 231-233. 



not be endangered by the explosion which might 
follow." • 

The abolitionists got very little aid and comfort 
out of this negative attitude: and they got still less 
from Henry Clay, who as a young man had advo- 
cated emancipation in Kentucky, and was con- 
spicuously mild in his theories of slavery. February 
7, 1839, he took occasion to make a speech on 
abolition. A man of strong humanitarian feeling, 
he could not forbear saying: "I am, Mr. President, 
no friend of slavery; the Searcher of all Hearts 
Icnows that every pulsation of mine beats high and 
strong in the cause of liberty;" but he added, "I 
prefer the liberty of my own country to that of 
any other people, and the liberty of my own race 
to that of any other race," He criticised the re- 
fusal to receive the petitions, preferring to have 
them referred to a committee, which should report 
against their object; but held up the abolitionists 
to odium as demanding a course in the District of 
Columbia which would be a " great practical incon- 
venience and annoyance," although he would not 
squarely say that it was unconstitutional. He 
scored them also for asking for the prohibition of 
the domestic slave-trade, which he considered en- 
tirely out of the power of Congress; he accused 
them of standing against the beneficent prospect of 
colonization, of preaching the amalgamation of the 
white and black races, of trying to deprive their 
' Webster, Works, I.. 356. 


neighbors of twelve hundred millions of dollars in 
slave property, of carrying on an agitation which, 
unless stopped, would break up the Union.' This 
sentiment was well received in the south, and at the 
close of his speech Calhoun rose and expressed his 
pleasure: "The work is done! abolition is no morel 
the South is consolidated!" ' 

One of Calhoun's resolutions of 1837 declared that 
" to refuse to extend to the Southern and Western 
States any advantage which would tend to strengthen 
or render them more secure, or increase their limits 
of population by the acquisition of new territory or 
states . . . under the plea that the institution of sla- 
very , , , is immoral or sinftil — would be contrary to 
that equality of rights and advantages which the 
Constitution was intended to secure." This was an 
allusion to the new sectional issue of the annexa- 
tion of Texas, which Jackson strongly desired and 
vigorously urged in the last hours of his administra- 
tion.' The farthest point that he could reach was 
to send a diplomatic agent in the last hours of his 
administration.* When Van Buren became presi- 
dent, therefore, Texas was still independent, and he 
saw to it that no progress was made towards annex- 
ation during his administration. The tension in 
Congress was for a time relieved.* 

' Cong. Globe. 35 Cong,, 3 Sess., App,, 3S4-359- 

> Buckingham, Slave States, I., 147. 

• Bjch&Tdson, Messages and Papers, III,, 978. *lbid., a8i, 

■Garrison, Westward Extension {Am, Nation, XVII.). 




In this issue, as in many others, the chief apostle 
of slavery was John C. Calhoun, senator from South 
Carolina, who had been once a foremost champion 
of nationalization, and was now the great leader in 
sUite rights ; who was at the same time the advocate 
of democratic government among a favored few, and 
the author of abstruse reasoning to bolster up sla- 
very. Himself a slave-holder, though known as a 
just master, as early as 1820 he came to think sla- 
very indispensable ; and when the rising importance 
of cotton gave the large planters a steady and profit- 
able crop, and at the same time his illusions as to 
employing slaves in manufactures were dissipated, 
he defended slavery for exactly the reason that 
John Quincy Adams opposed it, because of what 
each thought to be the interests of the whites of his 
own section. Stem, inflexible, and reasoning from 
selected bases of argument in true scholastic fashion, 
it was Calhoun's function on slavery, as on nullifica- 
tion, to marshal a body of well-drilled arguments. 

In a formal speech on the subject, March 9, 1836, 
he took the ground that " Congress has no legitimate 
jurisdiction over the subject of slavery, either here 
or elsewhere," the germ of the later doctrine of 
non-interference, which culminated in the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill and led to the Civil War: if Congress 
had really no authority, then the abolitionists had 
no right to petition. This is assuming the ground 
of controversy, but Calhoun made inroads on his 
other favorite principle of state rights by holding 


that the abolitionists had no right to discuss slavery 
at all ; and he demanded of Congress (which in his 
other view had no jtirisdiction over slavery) that it 
pass affirmative laws for the protection of the slave- 
holding commtmities against abolition mail ; and he 
insisted, as a constitutional right, as the moral duty 
of sister states, and as the condition of a continued 
union, that the agitation in the north should cease. 
**The conflicting elements would burst the Union 
asimder; powerful as are the links that hold it to- 
gether. Abolition and the Union cannot co-exist. . . . 
Come what will, should it cost every drop of blood and 
every cent of property we must defend ourselves."* 
While Calhoun's resolutions of 1837 were still 
pending in the Senate, Adams, as was his wont, 
presented a batch of petitions to the House, and 
then remarked that "he had in his possession a 
paper upon which he wished to have a decision of 
the speaker ; the paper, he said, came from twenty 
persons declaring themselves to be slaves." Was 
such a petition covered by the gag resolution ? The 
chair left it to the House to decide whether the 
petition should be received. Instantly the southern 
members took alarm, called for the punishment of 
Adams, and threatened that otherwise " every mem- 
ber from the slave states should immediately in a 
body quit this House and go home to their con- 
stituents." ' Resolution after resolution was intro- 

« Calhoun, Works, XL, 488, 629. 

' Cong. Globe, 24 Cong., 2 Sess., 165. 

▼OL. XYl. — x8 


duced in censure of the Massachusetts member. 
Adams at last obtained the floor long enough to 
say that the petition was against the abolition of 
slavery; but he would "be willing the petition 
should be received and considered," The next step 
was a resolution to the effect that Adams should be 
censured "for creating the impression and leaving 
the House under such impression that said petition 
was for the abolition of slavery when he knew it 
was not." If. as seems likely, this extraordinary 
petition was contrived to put Adams in a dilemma, 
it missed its aim, for, after several days' debate, it 
was recognized that "creating an imRression" was 
hardly a parliamentary offence; it was impossible 
to pass any resolution reflecting qn'Adams, and the 
whole controversy was dropped.* 

The imwisdom of efforts by gag resolution or by 
censure to check the flow of abolition petitions was 
shown by the constant increase in the number of 
those inflammable documents, which, in 1838, had 
three hundred thousand signatures; the legislatures 
of Massachusetts and Vermont both voted that the 
gag resolutions were unconstitutional;' and at the 
beginning of every session there was a fight against 
them. \lnDecember, 1838, a third gag resolution, 
introduce3by a northern man, passed ; ' and January 

' Cong. Globe. 14 Cons., 2 Sess., 164-176. 
'Von Hoist. Untied States. II., 184. 

' Trcmiun, Slaoery in Dist. ofCoL.ij; Schouler, Untied Slates, 
IV.. 307. 


8, 1840, wearied with bickerings, the House, by the 
fifth gag resolution, made it a standing rule that no V 
memorial on slavery in the District of Coliunbia or 
in any state or territory, or the domestic slave-trade, 
should be entertained in any way whatsoever. ^^Whgp \^ 
the rules of the House were revised, Adams for days 
fought against the inclusion of this rule; and on \y 
December 2, 1844, by a vote of 108 to 80, it was 

The possibility of servile war for years lay in the 
mind of John Quincy Adams, and he could not be 
restrained from uttering it. As early as 1820 he 
entered in his diary, "If slavery be the destined 
sword in the hand of the destroying angel, which is 
to sever the ties of this Union, the same sword will 
cut in stmder the bond of slavery itself." ' 

May 23, 1836, Adams made a speech of five hours, 
in which he predicted that in case of a general slave 
insurrection Congress must interfere or foreign pow- 
ers woiild interfere, and he took quick advantage of 
an admission by Wise, of Virginia, that Congress 
had " the right to interfere for the support and pro- 
tection of slavery in the states." The sting of 
Adams's suggestion lay first in the allusion to the 
possibility of a servile war — for, to the mind of the 
south, mentioning such a possibility aloud was the 
same as advocating it ; and second, in its clear state- 
ment of the doctrine that circumstances might arise 

* Julian, Giddings, 171; Schouler, United States, IV., 481. 

• Adams, Memoirs, V.. 210. 


under which the federal government must interfere 
to emancipate the slaves. This idea Adams never 
forgot; again. April 14, 1842, he announced in Con- 
, gross that " when a country is invaded and two 
hostile armies are set in hostile array, the com- 
manders of both armies have power to emancipate 
all the slaves in the invaded territory, , , , I lay this 
down as the law of nations " ; and his own comment 
upon this speech was, " My speech of this day stung 
the slavof^cy to madness." * 

After four years of a kind of armed truce. Presi- 
dent Tyler's renewal of the plans for the annexation 
of Texas again aroused Congress. In January, 1842, 
Adams gave the desired opportunity for a conflict 
by presenting to the House a petition of citizens of 
Haverhill, Massachusetts, asking Congress to adopt 
measures for the breaking up of the Union ; Adams 
moved that this petition be referred to a select com- 
mittee with instructions to prepare a report showing 
why the petition could not be granted. To silence 
this inveterate defender of the sanctity of petitions, 
a conference of southern members agreed to stand 
by each other, in a resolution of censure that : " A 
proposition ... to dissolve the organic law ... is a 
high breach of privilege, a contempt offered to this 
House, a direct proposition to the legislature and 
each member of it to commit perjury, and involves 
necessarily in its execution and its consequences 

' See Charles Francis Adams, in Mass. Hist. Soc.. Proceedings, 
January. 1901, pp. 439"478- 




the destruction of our cotmtry, and the crime of 
high treason"; that Adams had "disgraced his 
cotmtry . . . might well be held to merit exptdsion 
from the national councils, and the House deem it 
an act of grace and mercy when they only inflict 
upon him their severest censure." ^ Wise, of Vir- 
ginia, made it a personal matter and accused Adams 
of being in league with British abolitionists. 

Considering that Adams had neither signed, advo- 
cated, nor approved the petition, this was a strong 
resolution; and when Adams took the floor, he 
called for the reading of the constitutional definition 
of treason and for the clause of the Declaration of 
Independence which asserts that "whenever any 
form of government becomes destructive to these 
ends it is the right of the people to alter it or to 
abolish it." The excitement rose from hour to 
hour, and after eleven days of this extraordinary 
debate, when Adams offered to drop the subject if 
the resolutions were laid upon the table, the House 
so voted by 106 to 93; and the Haverhill petition 
was then refused by 116 to 40. The attempt to 
silence Adams was never again renewed, to the day 
of his death on the floor of the House in 1848. 

Adams had behind him the prestige of a great 
name and long experience in parliamentary law. 
Giddings was still an Ishmaelite, his hand against 
every man and every man's hand against him; and 
within two months a similar effort was made to 

^Cong.Globe, 27 Cong., a Sess., 168, 169. 




silence him. The cause was the introduction. 
March 21, 184a, of a series of resolutions brought 
about by the Creole slave case,' in which he as- 
serted that "slavery being an abridgment of the 
natural rights of man can exist only by force of 
positive municipal law." Ha\'ing accomplished his 
purpose of calling public attention to the case and 
of disturbing his fellow-members from the south, 
Giddings withdrew his resolutions without bringing 
them to a vote. But Botts, of Virginia, at once 
offered a resolution to the effect that " this House 
hold the conduct of said member altogether imwar- 
ranted and unwarrantable, and deserving the severe 
condemnation of the people of this country and of 
this body in particular." Giddings was thus put 
upon the defensive, but the House had tied itself 
up with its own procedure to such a degree that 
Giddings found he had no parliamentary status. 
A second resolution of censure was adopted by 125 
to 69, and nothing was left for Giddings but to send 
in his resignation.* A special election was held and 
his district promptly returned him, and with this 
increased prestige he at once renewed his tactics of 

'^Between Slade's first abolition speech of 1835, 
anSTThe attempts to censure Adams and Giddings 
in 1842, less than seven years had elapsed; but the 

' See p, 194. below. 

' Jiiliaii, Giddings, iiS-iaj; Cong. Globe, 3j Cong., a Sess., 



attitude of the anti-slavery men was totally changed, 
and every effort to prevent the introduction of 
abolition petitions had brought about a debate on 
slavery. The gag resolutions rested on a principle 
which might be applied to any other subject tm- 
pleasant to a majority of the members of Congress, 
and therefore had to be abandoned. No greater 
mistake was made throughout the struggle than 
the assumption that slavery was a subject of such 
peculiar sanctity that it must not be discussed on 
the floor of Congress. The debates of the House 
went abroad, and might, perhaps, reach the eyes of 
slaves; but they equally reached the eyes of free- 
men, who could appreciate the gibe of the aboli- 
tionists, that a subject which could not be safely 
discussed in the Congress of the United States was 
an institution harmful to the cotmtry; and that, if 
public discussion was damaging to slavery, the proof 
was complete that disctission was needed. 




IN the debates of Congress the point of view of tbe 
south was that the power of the federal govern- 
ment over slavery was negative; the use of federal 
machinery was disclaimed. At the same time it was 
expected that through the clauses of the Constitu- 
tion on interstate relations affirmative support shoiUd 
be given to slavery. " Full Faith and Credit shall be 
given in each State to the public Acts and judicial 
Proceedings of every other State " ' — that is, statute- 
books and judicial records are to be accepted as evi- 
dence of legal status and of legal proceedings, un- 
der the laws of the state issuing them; the state 
courts were to apply the laws and decisions of other 
states, as of foreign countries. 

When part of the states swept away all their 
previous legislation on slavery, the degree of effect 
which either side would give to the law of the other 
became a disputed question. For instance, did the 
clause on "pri^-ileges and immunities of citizens" 
' Article IV., sec. i. 


give a master a right to carry his slaves into 
another state? Did it give negro citizens in one 
state the right to go into another state? In- 
diana and Illinois forbid their entrance, but when 
Missouri, in 1821, tried to do the same thing, a com- 
promise had to be contrived to get aroimd the 

After the imsuccessful Denmark Vesey insurrec- 
tion of 1820, suspicion was strong against every 
negro. South Carolina passed a series of laws, com- 
monly called the "negro seamen acts," which pro- 
vided in effect that whenever a ship arrived in port 
any negroes on board must go to jail, there to stay 
till the vessel was ready to sail again. Northern 
states at once protested that their citizens were thus 
deprived of their "privileges and immunities"; and 
the British government made similar remonstrances.' 
After an opinion of Attorney-General Wirt that the 
law was tmconstitutional. South Carolina relaxed 
the measure as against England, but continued it 
against the northern states.' 

Under pressure from the anti-slavery people, the 
Massachusetts legislature, in 1844, sent Samuel Hoar 
as a commissioner to Charleston, to make a test case 
of a negro citizen of Massachusetts deprived of rights 
in South Carolina, to be brought to the supreme 
court. A committee of the South Carolina legislat- 

» Turner. New West {Am, Nation, XIV.), chap. x. 

^NiUs* Register, XXVII., 242. 

• Ofnnions of Attorneys-General, I., 6 59-66 1. 


ure thereupon voted that " this agent comes here 
not as a citizen of the' United States, but as an 
emissary of a foreign Government hostile to our 
domestic institutions and with the sole purpose of 
subverting our internal police," The legislature 
passed resolutions demanding the exclusion of Mr. 
Hoar, and he was notified that his life was in danger, 
and left Charleston — an example of how little state 
comity could be relied upon in any measure against 

The southern states were inclined to daim the 
principle that the status of a slave, created only by 
the law of his domicile, might under some circum- 
stances follow him into a free state. This principle 
was tested in various ways. When a master de- 
liberately took a slave into a free state, freedom 
suits were occasionally brought ; though the north- 
em courts sustained the state emancipation pro- 
visions they sometimes gave validity to so-called 
" indenttares " or written agreements by negroes to 
serve a master for life. As to temporary residence 
of slaves, in Massachusetts the law in terms forbade 
it for any cause.' In other states the courts held 
that the anti-slavery clauses of the constitutions did 
not apply to such cases,* If they voluntarily re- 
turned with their masters, southern coiuts, especially 

'Greeley, American ConfiicI, I,, 180-185; ^'*lfs' Register, 
LXVII , 226. 

' Comnionweahh tii. Aves. 18 Kelt., 193. 

' Supreme Court of Illinois, in Willard tii. the People, 4 Scam- 
mon, 461; Hurd. Law of Freedom and Bondage. II,, 339. 


in Missouri and Louisiana, frequently held that they 
reverted to slavery.* 

Complications also came over the claim to a 
"right of transit" from one place in a slave-holding 
state to another, or from a slave-holding state to a 
foreign country, through free territory, or along the 
Ohio and Mississippi rivers, lying between free and 
slave states. The claim was that interstate or 
international comity, and the "privileges and im- 
mtmities" clause, gave the slave-owner protection 
during the few hours or days of travel. The laws of 
Indiana permitted such transit provided no pur- 
chases were made amounting to "location." * 

Not so those of Pennsylvania. In 1855, John H. 
Wheeler, of North Carolina, on his way to New York 
and thence to Nicaragua, to which country he had 
been appointed minister, brought a slave woman 
named Jane to Philadelphia. While sitting on 
board the boat in which they had arrived, she was 
informed by Passmore Williamson, secretary of the 
Pennsylvania Abolition Society, that under the laws 
of the state she was free to go where she would, and 
she left the boat against the express will of her 
master. Frantic efforts were made to recover Jane 
by habeas corpus, and Williamson was charged with 
abducting her; whereupon she appeared in court 

> Collins vs. America, 9 B. Monroe, 565; Rachael vs. Walker, 
4 Mo. Supreme Court, 350; Goodloe, Southern Platform, 73. 
' Several interesting cases in Coffin, Reminiscences, 195-aoa, 

534-541. 554-557. 



and testified that she had always desired to be free 
and had the intention to escape in New York. 
Wilhamson was then charged with contempt of 
court for asserting that Jane was free and desired 
her freedom, but the state courts upheld Jane's 
status as a free woman, and Williamson was eventu- 
ally released.' 

The only class of southern negroes in northern 
states for whom the federal government took re- 
sponsibility was the "fugitives from service or 
labor."' Though the act of 1793 permitted the 
claimant of a fugitive to carry him before either a 
federal or a state magistrate for decision as to 
whether he was the person described in the claim- 
zmt's docimients, state officials were usually called 
upon to render judgment. When the abolitionists 
came upon the scene they began to stir up their 
legislatures to pass what came to be known as " per- 
sonal liberty laws," intended to protect free col- 
ored people from kidnapping and from unfoimded 
claims under the federal statute. ' Some of these 
laws were hardly compatible with thfr-oational act ; 
for instance, Pennsylvania passed, in 1826, a law 
which prohibited the carrying away of negroes to be 
enslaved, but which also protected persons claimed 
as fugitives. A series of similar acts was passed by 
half a dozen northern states between 1834 and 1840: 

' Still, Underground Railroad, 86-97. 

' Extracts from accounts of fugitives, in Hart, Contemporaries, 
IV., if .9-33. 


Indiana and Connecticut provided a jury trial for 
alleged fugitives, an example followed by Vermont 
and New York, and Connecticut also forbade state 
officials to take part in fugitive-slave cases. New 
York and Vermont provided that state attorneys 
shoTild act as legal advisers for the negroes in such 
cases. One state, Ohio, in 1839, passed a fugitive 
law of its own, giving the master more privileges 
than under the federal statute. 

The irritation at the capture of fugitives shown 
by the personal liberty bills soon took the form of 
defiance of the federal law. In 1836 occurred a 
damage suit against abolitionists for aiding fugitives 
to escape, and of violent rescue of a fugitive.* In 
1837 the field of such interference was extended to 
the west, where the slave Matilda, who was being 
taken by her master (and father) down the river, 
walked ashore from the steamer at Cincinnati and 
found employment with the family of James G. 
Bimey, who asked no questions about her. When 
her whereabouts were discovered, she was claimed 
and sturendered as a fugitive, though Chase, as coim- 
sel, insisted that she had been voluntarily brought 
within the jurisdiction of the state by her master. 

A test case of intentional breach of the law was 
that of John Van Zandt, a former Kentuckian, but 
an abolitionist and official of the Undergroimd Rail- 
road, who was driving a market wagon in the 
neighborhood of Cincinnati very early one morning 

' Niks* Register, L., 433; McDougall, Fugitive Slaves, $ 43. 


in 1840, and. by a coincidence which was never 
explained, fell in with a party of nine slaves who 
had escaped from the other side of the river that 
night. While carrying them out into the country-, 
they were stopped by two people who had no legal 
authority, and all the slaves except one were re- 
turned to the owners/ 

Such incidents showed the determination of the 
abolitionists that the fi^tive-slave law should not 
be carried out. A supreme court decision now both 
strengthened and weakened the force of the act of 
1793. A woman named Margaret Morgan, a fugi- 
tive from Maryland, in 1837 was discovered in 
Pennsylvania by Edward Prigg, an agent of her 
V master, who seized her without the simple process 
provided by the law, and thereby violated the Penn- 
sylvania statute of 1826 against the kidnapping of 
negroes. Prigg was convicted of this latter offence 
in the Pemisylvania courts, but appeal was brought 
to the supreme court of the United States, which 
in 1842' reached a decision to the effect that the 
owner of the slave had a right to recover him under 
the federal statute without restraint by any con- 
flicting state acts; at the same time it held that 
the act of 1793 could not be construed to create any 
obligation of the state authorities to take part in 
the administration of the law. 

Just at this time a fugitive named Latimer was 

' Hart, Chase, 75; Schuckers. Chase. 53. 
' Prigg vs. Pennsylvania. i6 Peters, 539. 


seized in Boston. On the basis of the Prigg deci- 
sion, Chief- Justice Shaw refxised to issue the habeas 
corpus provided by the state liberty bill so as to 
take the custody of Latimer from the federal au- 
thorities. The abolitionists held a succession of 
public meetings to protest, and if possible to pre- 
vent the return of Latimer, and finally ended the 
excitement by raising the necessary fotu* hundred 
dollars to buy his freedom.* This experience aided 
the abolitionists, for, so far from putting an end to 
the personal liberty bills, the Prigg case suggested 
a new crop, some passed simply with the purpose 
of taking advantage of the right to withdraw the 
use of the state machinery of magistrates and jails 
and prosecutors; other states set out with the 
deliberate intention of avoiding or interfering with 
the act of 1793. Hence, the personal liberty laws 
were felt to be a btiming grievance by the south, 
especially after the second federal law of 1850.' 

The authority of the federal statute was further 
shored up through a damage suit against Van Zandt 
for the value of the slave who had escaped in 1840 
through his means. Chase, as counsel, did his best, 
but judgment was obtained against Van Zandt for 
twelve htmdred dollars. In 1847 the case came be- 
fore the supreme court on appeal, and Seward and 
Chase made arguments. Chase's point was that the 

> McEknigall, Fugitive Slaws, § 44. 

» See later statute, Smith, Parties and Slavery (Am. Nation, 
XVIII.), chap, xix.; Parker, Personal Liberty Laws, 



fugitive-slave law was contrary to the ordinance of 
1787 and to the Constitution of the United States, 
and that the states and not the nation were intend- 
ed to legislate on the subject : the coxut squarely and 
thoroughly affirmed the constitutionality of the fed- 
eral fugitive-slave law.* 

I The tide of anti-slavery feeling had now risen to 
a point where, law or no law, decision or no de- 
cision, the return of fugitives was openly resisted. 
In the decade from 1840 to 1850 came a dozen or 
more exciting seizures, though in only one instance, 
the Walker case {1844), did the fugitive escape. 
The Kennedy case in 1847 made a great noise, be- 
cause the owner, a Maryland man, tried to seize 
his fugitive without the usual process of the law, 
was resisted, and broke his knee-cap. The riot 
caused the trial of thirty-six people, and Kennedy, 
who does not appear to have been seriously injured 
in the scrimmage, died during his convalescence — 
to many minds this seemed a clear case of the 
murder of a master by his slave.' 

Another part of the act of 1793 provided that 
persons charged with a crime in one state and flee- 
ing to another state might be returned on a requisi- 
tion made by one governor upon the other governor. 
Slave stealing, including assisting fi^tives to escape, 
was a crime known to the statute-books of all the 
southern states, but impossible to commit in com- 

' Jones vs. Van Zandt, 5 Howard, 315; Hart. Chase, 76-80. 
*Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., a Sess., 801. 


mtinities where there was no legal slavery — ^was it 
an offence extraditable tinder the statute? Tliis 
question was raised when, in May, 1837, the officers 
of the schooner Susan, bound from Georgia, allowed 
a negro stowaway to escape on reaching port in 
Maine. The governor of Georgia sent a requisition 
for them on the charge of slave stealing in Georgia ; 
but Governor Dtmlap took the rather narrow groimd 
that the officers of the Susan had not "fled from 
justice," inasmuch as they left Georgia before they 
were charged with the crime.* The governor of 
Georgia thereupon proposed to his legislature to 
consider all sailor citizens of Maine, who came to 
Georgia, " as doing so with the intent to commit the 
crime of seducing negro slaves from their owners." * 
A similar case occurred in 1839, when three sailors 
on a vessel bound to New York encouraged a slave 
to escape from Norfolk. The fugitive was recapt- 
ured, but Governor William H. Seward, who had 
travelled through the south, and had a personal dis- 
like of slavery, twice declined to grant a requisition 
for the sailors, because the extradition clause "ap- 
plied only to those acts which, if committed within 
the jurisdiction of the state in which the accused is 
foimd, would be felonious ... or criminal, by the laws 
of that state ... or by the laws of all civilized coim- 
tries." The controversy lasted several years: the 
legislature of New York backed their governor up 

* Niles* Register, LIII., 71 ; Senate Docs., 26 Cong., i Sess., No. 
J73. ' Von Hoist, United States, II., 540. 

TOL. XTl.— 19 


by passing a personiil liberty law, under which ev- 
ery person claimed as a fugitive was entitled to a 
Jury trial; Virginia rephed by a statute requiring 
a special inspection of all vessels bound to New 
York from Virginia; while Mississippi ofTered to 
unite with " other states in any mode or measure of 
resistance or redress." ' "7^7 

The uproar was resumed in f86o'when the com- 
monwealth of Kentucky appealed to the federal 
supreme court for a mandamus to compel the 
governor of Ohio to surrender one William Lago, 
a free negro under indictment in Kentuckj' for 
assisting a fugitive to escape. The supreme court 
took the ground that there was a legal right to 
demand extradition for an offence not defined by 
the statute-book of the state to which he had fled, 
and that it was a " moral duty " of the governor of 
Ohio to give up Lago; but that "there is no power 
delegated to the general government, either through 
the judicial department or any other department, 
to use any coercive means to compel him." ' 

Whether it was possible for a person in one state 
to conmiit a crime of which other states cotdd take 
cognizance, without the alleged criminal leaving his 
own domicile, was a question raised when abolition 
newspapers and other controversial material was 
sent to people in the southern states. These papers 

'Bancroft, Seward, I., iot-104; Lothrop, Seward, 39-43; 
McDougaD, Fugitive Slaves, 5 47. 

' Kentucky vs. Dennison, 24 Howard, 103-110, 


contained rude wood-cuts illustrating the cruel treat- 
ment of slaves, and many allusions to the injustice 
and illegality of slavery. In several southern cities 
such papers were seized in July, 1835, by self-con- 
stituted guardians of the peace, and burned before 
thousands of spectators. The postmaster of Charles- 
ton appealed to the postmaster of New York to stop 
sending such matter ; and he asked the anti-slavery 
societies to discontinue their use of the mails — a 
request which they reftised to consider. The post- 
master-general, Amos Kendall, himself a slave- 
holder, declined to issue any official order to ex- 
clude matter duly mailed, but added the significant 
hint: **We owe an obligation to the laws, but a 
higher one to the commimities in which we live." 
With this statement, which bears a singular kinship 
to the "higher law" principle of the abolitionists, 
the postmaster was well enough contented, and no 
more abolition mail was delivered in Charleston. 

In this virtual approval of a search and censor- 
ship of the mail, Kendall was supported by President 
Jackson,* who, in his annual message of 1835, sug- A 
gested action by Congress. Calhoun introduced a 
Senate bill in 1836 providing that any mail matter 
(other than letters) touching the subject of slavery 
should not be delivered in any state prohibiting the 
circulation of such matter;* and he got nineteen 

> NiUs' Register, XLVIII.. 40a. 447; Kendall. Autobiography, 
648; Richardson, Messages and Papers, III., 175. 
' Debates of Congress, 24 Cong., i Sess., 383. 


votes in favor of his proposal against twenty-five. 
Congress was held back by constitutional objections : 
it was to advance laws not yet made by the 
states, and also to make as many different kinds of 
i federal law as there were varieties of state legisla- 

t- tion on the subject. Nevertheless, in our day the 

^\ disputed principles have been conceded ; the federal 
I j^ government excludes from the mails matter which 
It the post-office authorities deem dangerous to morals, 

J*^ such as obscene literature and lottery mail ; and by 
the original package act, Congress in a sense re- 
enacts the state statutes prohibiting the sale of 
liquor, and thereby makes a federal law in some 
states which does not apply to others. 

If the agitators could not be silenced, might they 
not be punished ? Some efforts were made to indict 
and then to extradite leading abolitionists; and in 
1 83 1 it was publicly suggested that Garrison should 
be " prosecuted in the place where he had procured 
his incendiary paper to be distributed " — that is, in 
the south.' The only serious attempt to carry out 
this method was set forth by the grand jury of Tus- 
caloosa County, Alabama, September, 1835, in the 
following indictment: "Robert G, Williams, late of 
said county, being a wicked, malicious, seditious 
and ill-disposed person, and being greatly disaffected 
to the laws ... of said state, and feloniously, wickedly, 
maliciously and seditiously contriving, devising and 
intending to produce conspiracy, insurrection and 
' Garrisons, Garrison, I., 139. 


rebellion among the slave population of said state, 
. . . did cause to be distributed, circulated and pub- 
lished, a seditious paper called The Emancipator 
[containing the expression] ' God commands and all 
nature cries out that man should not be held as 
property.'" * Governor Gayle, of Alabama, there- 
upon called upon Governor Marcy, of New York, to 
surrender Williams. But Marcy was unable to see 
how a crime could be committed in Alabama by a 
man who was at the moment in New York, and how 
a man could "flee" from a state in which he had 
never set foot. 

In^several instances rewards were offered for the 
delivery of particular abolitionists, especially Arthur 
Tappan, of New York ; and by an official statute of 
Georgia, December 26, 1831, five thousand dollars 
was appropriated " to be paid to any person or per- 
sons who shall arrest, bring to trial and prosecute to 
conviction, under the laws of this state, the editor 
or publisher of a certain paper called the Liberator.** * 

The difficulty of appealing to the good -will of 
neighbors and to the general principles of comity 
between nations was manifested in the foreign 
relations of the coimtry after 1840, when all the 
neighboring countries except Cuba and Porto Rico, 
some of the French colonies and the empire of Brazil, 
were free ; while the United States stood in the eyes 

« Miles' Register, XLIX.. 358. 

'Garrisons, Garrison, I., 247; Goodell, Slavery and Antu 
Slavery, 410. 


of the -world as a slave-holding country. Flanked 
north and south by the free territory of Canada and 
Mexico, the slave-holders lost live property across 
both borders. The strength of the British emanci- 
pationist party was so great that it was useless to 
revive projects for a treaty for the surrender of 
fugitive slaves from Great Britain. On the other 
hand, the slave states refused to accept foreign 
negroes as citizens on the same footing as whites; 
and in 1831 Attorney - General Berrien gave the 
opinion that the South Carolina seaman act was a 
police regulation, against which the British govern- 
ment had no reasonable right of complaint.' 
y The slave-trade continued after 1830, as before, 
to disturb the friendly relations between the United 
States and her neighbors. Notwithstanding the 
severe statutes between 1820 and 1830, very little 
effort was made to enforce them ; the greater part 
of the trade to Brazil and the Spanish colonies was 
under the United States flag ; and several thousand 
slaves were shipped into the United States every 
year.* Unless a vessel could be overhauled on the 
high seas and required to show her papers, it was 
impossible to stop the slave-trade, and Great Britain 
had an active navy and was fitted to be the police- 
man of the seas; but the United States would admit 

' opinions of Attomeys-Generai , II., 4i6-44». 

'DuBois, Suppression of the Slave-Trade, 143; cf. President 
Tyler's message, February 20, 1845. •" Richardson, Messages and 
Papers. IV., 362-364. 


no "right of search" even to find out whether a 
vessel was entitled to fly the American flag/ and the 
trade by Americans wias little disturbed. 

A "right of visit " to ascertain the charter of the 
ship was conceded by France and several of the 
smaller European powers; and in 1841 England 
secured the so-called " Quintuple Treaty," signed by 
Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, to rec- 
ognize this practice among them. Without in- 
structions, Lewis Cass,, the American minister to 
France, published a pamphlet intended to prove 
that the purpose of Great Britain was to set up a 
new principle of international law which would 
eventually be forced upon the United States, and 
he lodged an effective protest against the ratifica- 
tion of the treaty by France.* The method was 
harsh and unusual, the danger remote, but it turned 
the disctission into another channel, and in the 
Ashburton treaty of 1842 the United States and 
Great Britain entered into a "cruising convention" V 
by which they agreed to maintain a joint squadron 
for the suppression of slavers on the coast of 

It remains to notice a group of difficulties arising 
out of the appearance in the ports of other countries 
of American vessels lawfully carrying slaves. In 

* Schuvler, Diplomacy, pt. ii., 348-353; Channing, Works, 
VI., 363-368. 

' DuBois, Suppression of the Slave-Trade, 143-146; Schuyler, 
Diplomacy, pt. ii., 252; McLaughlin, Cass, 175-182. 



1831 the ship Comet, with slaves boimd from an 
Atlantic to a Gulf port, was wrecked upon the 
Bahamas and the slaves on board were brought to 
Nassau and set free, on the ground that the British 
law did not recognize slavery on the high seas. In 
1S33 the Encomium, in 1835 the Enterprise, and 
in 1840 the //ertnosa were brought within the British 
jurisdiction in about the same way. The United 
States demanded an indemnity for all these slaves, 
and asserted that the accidental presence of the 
vessels in British waters did not dissolve the rela- 
tions of master and slave which existed under the 
law of the place from which they set sail. It was 
easy to point out that the ports of the United States 
as such were neither slave-holding nor free ; that the 
status of slavery was created by commonwealths 
which could claim no jurisdiction of any kind on 
the high seas, and which had no direct diplomatic 
relations with any foreign country. Nevertheless, 
it was inequitable that England should set these 
cargoes of slaves free while slavery was not com- 
pletely extingmshed in her own colonies. After long 
negotiations, in 1840 Great Britain allowed an in- 
demnity of one hundred and fifteen thoiisand dol- 
lars for the slaves on board the Comet and En- 
comium, because these cases occurred previous to 
completion of the West India emancipation; but 
notice was given that no further payments of that 
kind would be made. The Senate, by resolution, 
then claimed that the Enterprise case was a viola- 


tion of international law, but no redress could be 

While these negotiations were pending arose the 
case of the ship VAmistad, which, in Jtine, 1839, 
left Havana bound to another Spanish port, hav- 
ing on board certain persons described in a cer- 
tificate held by two of the passengers as "slaves." 
In reality they were persons imported from Africa 
contrary to Spanish law, and therefore legally free. 
On the voyage the Africans rose, killed the officers, 
and compelled one of the ship's company to navigate 
the vessel, as they supposed towards Africa; in 
reality he edged towards the coast, where in August 
they were picked up by Lieutenant Gedney in a 
federal revenue-cutter.* 

The affair gave rise to unexampled complications : 
Gedney claimed salvage; Ruiz and Montez, the 
masters, claimed their slaves ; the negroes, in whom 
the abolitionists took great interest and who were 
well defended, claimed their liberty; the Spanish 
minister, imder the treaty of 1795, claimed the 
restoration of both ship and cargo as "property 
rescued from pirates," — the negroes having the 
double distinction of being pirates and booty. Presi- 
dent Van Btu'en was ready to surrender them, but 
the federal courts took jurisdiction and the supreme 
coiut, on appeal, gave judgment that the papers 
were not prima-facie evidence of the status of the 

' Moore, International Arbitrations, L, 408-412. 

' Wharton, Digest of American International Law, § 161. 



negroes, who in law were free when they left Havana, 
and, as freemen, were entitled to kill those who 
attempted to carry them into slavery; and the 
United States was under no obligation to interfere. 
The captives were allowed to go free and remained 
in the United States.' 

The shock to the south catted by this decision 
was increased in November, 1841, by the case of 
the American ship Creole, bound from Hampton 
Roads to New Orleans with a cargo of slaves. Per- 
haps inspired by the UAmistad incident, the slaves 
rose, killed one person, and carried the vessel into 
the port of Nassau, where they were discharged by 
the British government. Although Webster, as 
secretary of state, demanded their retiim for 
"mutiny and murder," a claim which virtually 
made them out to be subject to the officers of the 
ship, Charles Sumner took the ground that "they 
became free men when taken, by the voluntary 
action of their owners, beyond the jtirisdiction of 
the slave states." ' Had they been white men they 
would have been surrendered; had they escaped 
without a fight they could not have been demanded 
as criminals; but Webster held that, inasmuch as 
slaves were recognized as property by the Constitu- 
tion of the United States in those states in which 
slavery existed, that status continued at sea,* 

'Baldwin, in New Haven Hist, Soc., Papers. IV., 341-371; 
Opitions of Attorneys-General, III., 484-491; 15 Peters, 518. 

• Pierce, Sumner. II.. aoo 

' Moore, Internalional Arbitrations, I., 410-411. 


The case was different from the UAmistad in that 
the slaves were legally held at the time of departure ; 
and it was stretching British emancipation a long 
way to apply it to such a circumstance. Ten years 
of negotiations brought about no agreement, and 
in 1853 the question was submitted to the arbitra- 
tion of Joshua Bates, an English banker, American 
bom, who decided that an indemnity was due, and 
a hundred and ten thousand dollars was paid by the 
British government to extinguish this obligation.* 

1 Moore, International Arbitrations, I., 4x7. 



OP 1S3 



LOOKING back through the Civil War and the 
-* steps which led up to it, the most important 
question before the country in 1837 seems now to 
have been the abolition controversy ; but though it 
occupied a large place in men's minds, people were 
chiefly interested in every-day commercial and fi- 
nancial questions and the manceuvrings of the two 
national parties, which now began to take distinct 

In his inaugural address, March 4, 1837, Van 
Buren said, " I tread in the foot-steps of illustrious 
men." As he hinted, his administration was to be 
a conscientious attempt to carry into effect the 
principles which Jackson with such masterful blows 
had hammered into shape as the basis of the Demo- 
cratic party.' On slavery, Van Buren declared him- 
self the "inflexible and uncompromising opponent 
of every attempt on the part of Congress to abolish 
slavery in the District of Columbia against the 

' Cf. MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy {Am 
chap. xvii. 

Nalion. XV.). 

i837l PANIC OF 1837 297 

wishes of the slave-holding states " ; and also equal- y 
ly determined "to resist the slightest interference 
with it in the states where it exists"; mob vio- 
lence against the abolitionists he condoned because 
a "reckless disregard of the consequences of their 
conduct . . . has exposed individuals to popular in- 

As a kind of third term of Andrew Jackson, Van 
Buren carried over the cabinet that he found in 
office, except that Poinsett, of South Carolina, was 
made secretary of war. With the exception of Levi 
Woodbury, of New Hampshire, secretary of the 
treasury, and Amos Kendall, postmaster-general, it 
was an inconspicuous cabinet; and three changes 
were made in the course of the administration. To 
the supreme court Jackson appointed a new justice 
in the last days of his administration, and Van 
Buren made two appointments. 

Although Jackson in his own mind was a reformer, 
the post-offices throughout the country were made 
political machines, the treasury was ill-managed, no 
proper effort was made to secure prompt settlements 
from financial officials or to deal with embezzlements 
when discovered, and national currency was demor- 
alized. The accoimts of Samuel Swartwout, for 
seven years the collector of the port of New York, 
were known to be in arrears; but not until seven 
months after Swartwout had finally retired from 
office did Van Buren take steps to compel a settle- 

* Richardson, Messagis and Papers, HI., 318. 


ment, and it was then discovered that he owed a 
million and a quarter, which was never paid,' 

The business of the country had never seemed so 
flourishing as at the beginning of 1837. When the 
federal charter of the United States Bank expired, 
March i, 1836, it continued under a state charter 
with the same capital of $35,000,000, but of course 
without the privilege of branches in other states, 
the place of which was taken by new state banks. 
The United States still owned seven millions of 
stock, which it sold out to advantage in 1838. 
Banking in all its forms was therefore turned over 
wholly to banks created by the states, which, in 
1837, numbered 788, with a capital of $391,000,000, 
a circulation of $150,000,000, and disproportionate 
loans of $535,000,000.' Several of the states later 
abandoned the old system of special charters for 
the banks, and passed general banking acts, fixing 
conditions upon which any person who could bring 
together the necessary capital might receive a char- 
ter; but no less than fourteen states of the Union 
were engaged in the business of public banking, 
the most noticeable being Kentucky, Indiana, and 
Illinois,' In about half of the states of the Union 
the laws adequately protected the note-holder under 
ordinary conditions, but there were ntmierous wild- 
cat banks; for instance, the Essex Bank, incorpo- 

' House Exec. Docs., 1$ Cong., 3 Sess.. No. 13. 

' Dewey. Finaitcial Hisl. of the U. S.. 115. 

• Sound Cuneitcy, II., Nos. i, 10, V., Nos. 9. r6. 

i837l PANIC OF 1837 299 

rated in Vermont in 1833, which put out a large 
amount of currency on no capital whatever, except 
the notes of stockholders for $2000.* 

In 1834 there was a stringency, amotmting almost 
to a crisis, but from that time on the state banks 
seemed prosperous, and there were few bank failures. 
This prosperity was apparently not disturbed bythe 
passage of the distribution act of 1836, by which 
$37,468,859, arising from the tmexpected receipts of 
public lands during 1835 and 1836, was to be drawn 
in four quarterly instalments from the state banks 
in which the money was on deposit, and to be paid 
over to the states for such uses as they saw fit ; the 
smallest payment was to be $382,000 to Michigan 
and Delaware, and the largest, over $5,000,000, to 
New York.' The first instalment of $9,367,000 was 
duly called for on January i, 1837, and the states 
proceeded to decide what use should be made of 
this sum. Some used it to pay off old debts ; others 
appropriated it to running expenses; some of the 
New England states appropriated it for public 
schools, and distributed it among the cotmties and 
towns ; or the monej^was deposited with the towns 
and used according to their discretion; in a few 
cases the money was distributed and paid in cash 
to the voters. The states of Illinois, North Caro- 
lina, Delaware, and Michigan used the whole of 

' Brothers, United States, 451. 

' Mac Donald, Jacksonian Democracy {Am. Nation^ XV.), 
chap. xvi. 



their allotment for internal improvements ; in some 
other states it went to pay debts on such improve- 

The call for the second instalment, Aj^ i, 1837, 
was honored by the banks, but it now became 
evident that the deposits had unduly accumulated 
in the northern and western banks; for instance, 
against Michigan's share of $382,000 there were 
deposits in Michigan banks of almost a million; 
Mississippi, wliich was to receive about $500,000. 
had over $17,000,000 on deposit; while Pennsyl- 
vania, with claims of nearly four millions, contained 
on deposit only a quarter of a million. 

The surplus was only one element in a period 
of extraordinary speculation. The government de- 
posits in the weak frontier banks gave them fimds 
which they could employ profitably only in local 
loans to purchasers of government land. The coun- 
try was filling up rapidly, improved farms were 
worth many times the government price of $1.25 an 
acre in cash, and a vicious circle was initiated imder 
which the proceeds of the loans were paid to the 
land offices for lands and redeposited in the banks 
by the land offices, where they became the basis for 
renewed transactions. The credit of the banks was 
thus tied up with the speculative value of the lands; 
if the time came when they could not be sold at a 
large advance over the cost price, somebody stood 
to lose immense sums. 

' Bourne, Surplus Revenue, possiia. 

1837] PANIC OF 1837 3ot 

Another extension of business beyond the needs 
of the country was in railroad building; between 
1 83 1 and 1837, 1274 miles were constructed,* most 
of which was still drawn from American capital, 
inasmuch as American railroads as yet had no 
credit abroad. About this time the states dis- 
covered that there were large masses of capital in 
Europe seeking investment, and millions of dollars 
was placed in state loans, intended chiefly for the 
construction of canals; the eastern banks also had 
foreign correspondents who were willing to place 
large stuns indirectly through their instrumentality. 
The total amotmt of these foreign loans, nearly all 
incurred after 1830, was estimated at $200,000,000.' 
The southern states alone appear to have borrowed 
about $50,000,000,* and in May, 1838, the aggregate 
state debt, foreign and domestic together, was stated 
at $170,000,000.^ 

(^AU^the conditions were ripe for a crash: an 
artificial and reckless system of private and publicV 
finance; the United States government expecting 
the imusual sales of public lands to go on indefinite- 
ly; the states plunging into debt out of all propor- 
tion to their means and needs, and incurring interest 
charges which would require higher taxes than their 
people had ever known ; private banking expanded, 

* Poor, Railroad Manual, 1869-1870. p. 24. 

' Richardson . Messages and Papers, III., 552. 

* Democratic Review, 48-101. 

* Lalor, Cyclopcedia, I., 728, III., 604. 

TOL. ZTI.— ao 


from the ease of raising funds abroad and of placing 
them at home; the coimtry merchant stretching his 
credit to buy new stocks of goods, and giving credit 
to his fanning customers; real estate soaring up- 
ward, so that in New York City the appraisal rose 
from $104,000,000, in 1832, to $255,000,000 in 1836.' 
Men were willing, even in financial centres, to pay 
ruinous discounts. In seven years a balance of 
trade of $140,000,000 was created against the United 
States, for which the foreigners practically received 
the obligations of states and banks.' Cotton was 
very high in 1835, rising to sixteen cents; and thou- 
sands of southwestern planters boi^ht negroes on 
credit, expecting to pay for them out of their cotton 
crop. If anything occurred to check this feeling of 
buoyant confidence, a crash must come. The specie 
circular of July 11,1 836, requiring payment for land 
in specie, was really an effort to check this alarming 
tide of speculation, which extended into business of 
every sort.' 

In November, 1836, the failure of the "three 
W's" — Wilkes, Wilde, and W^gins — ^large English 
houses engaged in American trade, was the premoni- 
tion of the crash.* The panic began in the south, 
where cotton broke to ten cents; in March, 1837, the 
calamity extended to the New York banks. All but 

' NiUs' Regisi^, LI., 167. 
' Dewey, Financial Hist, of the U. S., \ 96. 
' MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy (Am. Nation, XV.) , chap, 
xvi. * Von Hoist, UnitedStaUs. II., 194, 

i837] PANIC OF 1837 303 

four of the deposit banks were obliged to suspend 
specie pajrments. The Dry-Dock Bank, one of the 
government deposit banks, showed cash resotirces of 
$1 S,ooo and outstanding loans of $3 1 3,000. Through- 
out the Union most of the banks ceased to redeem 
their notes in specie over their cotmters; and two 
failures of crops, one in 1835, and again in 1837, 
greatly reduced the recuperative power of the 
country. In a few weeks, in New York alone, the 
value of real estate and stocks declined at least 
$100,000,000. Amid this excitement and distress 
the third instalment was called from the banks, on 
July I, 1837. About four out of nine millions of 
this call was received at the time, and then, later, 
the loss to the government from insolvent banks 
seems to have been only about fifty thousand dollars. 
Out of a treastiry balance of $46,000,000, on 
January i, 1837, only $28,000,000 was tiuned over 
to the states, but the balance of $18,000,000 disap- 
peared in the expenses of the government, so that, 
in October, Congress, simimoned in special session, 
was obliged to suspend the call for the f oiuth instal- 
ment and to authorize the temporary issue of treas- 
ury notes; and in the next six years $47,000,000 of 
such notes were put forth to tide over temporary 
stringencies. ,In 1841 a bonded debt was author- 
ized, and from that day to the present the United 
States has always had a public debt. In every year 
between 1837 and 1843, with the one exception of 
1839, there was a deficit. The sale of the public 




lands fell from 30,000.000 acres, in 1836, to 3.500,000 
in 1838. Imports shrank in tv.-o years from $190,- 
000,000 to $113,000,000, with a corresponding dim- 
inution of the customs duties to less than half their 
previous figure.' 

The treasury notes were simply a palliative. What 
could the federal government do to relieve the com- 
munity in this serious crisis ? Van Buren summon- 
ed Congress in special session, September 4. 1837, 
and the powerful Democratic party found itself in 
a majority of only three for the choice of James K. 
Polk as speaker. Van Buren reported not only a 
deficit in the Is-easmy, but serious embarrassment 
in some of the deposit banks and the suspension 
of others; and he suggested vaguely a scheme for 
replacing public funds in the state banks by " the 
establishment by law at a few important points of 
offices for the deposit and disbursement of . , . por- 
tions of the public revenue." * He not only criti- 
cised the state banks, but he inveighed against their 
notes, and insisted that the country ought to have 
a specie currency. 

Whether sound or unsound, these measures could 
not arrest the panic, which, after six months of 
terrible distress, in which a large part of all the 
firms that had been in business suspended pay- 
ment, gradually spent its force. Notwithstanding 
the immense losses of 1837, the greater part of the 

' Dewey, Finatictat Hist, of the U. S., Jj 99-105. 
' Richardson. Messages ami Papers, III., 336. 

1838] PANIC OF 1837 305 

banks resumed, the niimber actually increased by 
more than one hundred and the bank capital by 
$27,000,000, while the loans were somewhat reduced. 
In August, 1838, specie payments were resumed by 
all the banks, the United States Bank of Pennsyl- 
vania being the last. In the state elections of 1838 
the Democrats were in general more successful, but 
in the congressional elections the Whigs and Demo- 
crats were about evenly balanced. 

Van Buren's plan of relief, which came to be 
called the Independent Treastiry or the Sub-Treasury, 
was first suggested in 1834,* and it met the inune- 
diate danger of loss to the government by the failure 
of banks, and prevented speculation in money de- 
rived from government deposits. It was, fiuther- 
more, a party measure intended to prevent a return 
to the national bank, to which Van Buren was 
absolutely opposed. A bill embodying the sugges- 
tion was presented to Congress in 1837, debated for 
several weeks, passed by the Senate, but failed in 
the House ; the Whigs, tmder the leadership of both 
Webster and Clay, imiting upon a revival of the 
United States Bank. The Democratic party was 
itself divided upon the currency question ; the " Loco- 
Focos," or hard-money branch, supporting the pres- 
ident, the "conservative" Democratic leaders imit- 
ing with the Whigs. The Whigs took advantage of 
this split in 1838 to elect as governor of New York 
the brilliant yotmg statesman William H. Seward. 

* Debates of Congress ^ 23 Cong., i Sess., 4640. 


The need of a new system was emphasized by a 
second crash in 1839, memorable for its effect on 
the United States Bank, which had financed certain 
unfavorable cotton speculations. October 10, 1839, 
the bank suspended payments; drafts on Paris to 
the amount of several million francs were protested ; 
the stock fell sixteen per cent, in a day. and even(> 
ually the whole capital of $35,000,000 was a total 
loss. The crisis of 1839 was, however, rather a 
bank than a commercial i)anic, and the country 
speedily revived. 

When the new Congress met in 1839 it was found 
that there were two sets of returns from the state of 
New Jersey ; if the certificate of the Whig governor 
was accepted, a Whig speaker would be elected; 
and if the Democratic candidate were seated, the 
Democrats would control the House, The clerk of 
the previous House refused to insert the names of 
either delegation, and also refused to put any mo- 
tions until the House had accepted that decision. 
After four days' tumult, John Quincy Adams sug- 
gested a way out of the imbrogho, and when the 
cry was raised, "Who will put the question?" re- 
plied, "I intend to put the question myself." The 
final result was that the Democratic contestants 
were seated, and that Hunter, a Whig, who favored 
the Independent Treasury, was elected speaker.' 

This organization made it possible to pass the 

Independent Treasury bill, and thus to fulfil the 

' FoUett. Speaker 0/ the House, 31. 


PANIC OP 1837 


promise that the Democratic administration would 
do something to relieve the cotmtry. The president 
backed the project up with long and patient mes- 
sages in which he again urged that nothing but 
specie be received and paid in public transactions. 
After long debates, July 4, 1840, an act was secured 
imder which the treasurer of the United States was 
directed to " keep all the public monies which shall 
come to his hands in the Treasury of the United 
States"; in addition to which the mints and some 
of the custom-houses were also made places of local 
deposit. A hard-money clause was included, to 
take gradual effect, so that imtil 1843 part of the 
government payments could be made in bank-notes. 
After three years of controversy the Independent 
Treasury was at last realized.* 

Nevertheless, the state of the government finances 
made a profotmd impression upon the people. The 
total revenues in 1840 were $19,000,000, as against 
$51,000,000 in 1836, while the~expenditures were 
only $6,000,000 less than in that year; and when 
the compromise tariff should take full effect in 1842, 
the income wotdd be further diminished. The gen- 
eral sensation of poverty was reflected in a series of 
startling repudiations of their debts by the states. 
The amount of those debts has already been stated 
as about $170,000,000; but six states for a time 
ceased to pay interest on their debts, and three states 
made no fiuther provision either for interest or 

* Kinley, Hist, of Independent Treasury, chap. ii. 



principal.' The rich commonwealth of Pennsylva- 
nia owed about $41,000,000, of which two -thirds 
was held in England; after the crash of 1837 the 
state paid its interest out of borrowed money, and 
in 1841 absolutely suspended.' It was this expe- 
rience which caused Sydney Smith to say that he 
never met a Pennsylvanian without a desire to 
"strip him of his clothes and boots for division 
among the guests, most of whom had probably 
suffered by his state's dishonesty." Mississippi 
had loaned $5,000,000 to a bank, and when it 
failed the state government insisted that there had 
been an infonnality in the issue, and that there- 
fore the state, which had received the proceeds, was 
not liable. It was in this episode that Jefferson 
Davis first came to the front, in 1843, ^ ^^ advo- 
cate of repudiation.* 

So serious was the crisis that application was 
made to Congress to assume the state debts, and 
a committee, in March, 1843, reported that the 
outstanding state debts were then $208,000,000, 
carrying an interest charge of $10,000,000 a year. 
Pennsylvania resumed payment in 1845, and return- 
ing prosperity enabled all the states that so desired 
to meet their just debts; but $11,000,000, sub- 
scribed by creditors of the states previous to 1840, 
have never been paid to this day. 

' Scott, Repudiation of State Debts, passim. 
'Lyell, Travels, ist series, 117-116. 

'LalOT.Cyclop^ia, III, 60^, ShieMs, Prentiss, 3*7; R. Davis, 
Recollections, 166. 




THE question still remains, how far did the abo- 
litionists accomplish what they set out to do? 
After thirty years of agitation, suddenly slavery 
ceased to be, through the use of that military pow- 
er which John Quincy Adams had foreseen and 
almost invoked.* The abolitionists naturally be- 
lieved that they had pulled down the heavens and 
let the freedmen escape through the cracks. Are 
they entitled to the credit for this tremendous 

The work of the abolitionists can be estimated 
only in contrast with their aims, motives^^^and 
results, up to the breaking out of civil war. jSo far 
as the effect upon the conditions of the slaWwas 
concerned, the abolitionist accomplished little of 
what he set out to do: the slave codes were more 
severe in i860 than in 1830; the national fugitive- 
slave act was more drastic ; the law of the territories 
was more favorable to slavery; the square miles 
open to slavery had doubled in the thirty years ; the 

* See chap, xviii., above. 


number of slaves had increased from two millions 
to nearly four millions; even the bulwark against 
the African slave-trade seemed weakening, under the 
vigorous demands of the lower south for cheaper 

As for the attempt to affect the slave-holder by 
moral suasion or by hard langiiage, it was a total 
failure. A few slave-holders, like John S. Wise, 
shocked by the brutality of the system as they saw 
it, privately put their heads together and "agreed 
that a system in which things like that were possi- 
ble was monstrous ; and that the question was, not 
whether it should be abolished and abolished quick- 
ly, but as to the manner of its abolition"'; but the 
community in general defended slavery in all its 
ramifications, accepting the worst features of it as 
disagreeable but inevitable incidents. 

The insurmountable difficulty in the whole con- 
troversy over slavery was that the two sides were 
not dealing with the same thing. The starting-point 
in the north was the individual, his inborn God- 
given right to make the best of himself, no matter 
whst his race or color. As Lincoln put it, " in the 
right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody 
else, which his own hand earns, he [the negro] is my 
equal, . . . and the equal of every living man.",' 

■ See Smith, PartUs atid Slavery (Am. Nation. XVIII.) , chap, 

' Wise. End of an Era. 87 ; cf. Smedes, Memorials of a Southern 
Planter, 190-191. ' Lincoln, Works, I., aSo. 


From that stand -point all arguments of social or 
economic advantage to the whites seemed foreign 
to the subject. On the other hand, the slave- 
holders were thinking of their commtmity, of its 
vested rights, of the superiority of favored men 
backed up and supported by a powerful social 
system which protected them in their hold on the 
resources of their section, both natural and htunan. 
The basis of slavery was the conviction that the , 
negro was put into the world for the benefit of the 
white man, and his highest glory and advancement 
was in serving the superior race well. As for the 
mulattoes, they bore the mark of their sinful origin 
in their complexions, and their white blood must be 
submerged in their negro blood for the protection of 
the white race. 

With two such widely differing conceptions of the 
basis of society and of the right and wrong in human \ 
life, the contestants might have argued for a cen- 
tury without convincing each other. Contradiction 
stood out of every phase of the discussion. With 
the same breath the pro-slavery advocates declared 
that the negro was a barely human creature, saved 
from barbarism only by his contact with the whites ; 
and that he was a docile, affectionate, and faithful 
servitor, a friend of his master and a fit companion 
and playmate of his master's family. The negro 
was incapable of political organization because sunk 
in sloth and licentiousness ; and at the same time a 
dangerous conspirator, who was kept from cutting 



his master's throat only by unceasing watchfulness. 
Doubtless some negroes were bad and some negroes 
were good, but as a race the negro could not be ati 
the same time a brute and a happy serf, a criminal' 
and a family friend. 

This confusion, which can be traced in almost: 
every southern book dealing with the subject, was 
combined with a tactical error which gave the north 
a great advantage in the discussion; and that was 
I the prolubition after 1835 of all open criticism of 
I slavery in the lower south. The reason given was 
the danger of such discussion before slaves; but it 
went on habitually in almost every house in the 
south, for people somehow forgot that those stand- 
ing behind their chairs had ears to hear and tongues 
to repeat. To assure the world that slavery was 
God^ven, hallowed by the experience of mankind, 
enjoined by Scripture, the foundation of republican 
government, the source of all southern blessings, — 
and then to insist that it could be overthrown by 
the mere wind of doctrine, — was a confession that 
it was really unstable and iniquitous. No great in- 
stitution contributing to human enlightenment has 
ever needed to be protected by silence. 

Another advantage of the abolitionists throughout 
the^ohtroversy was that nobody was able to suggest 
a remedy for slavery that was any more acceptable 
/ to the slave-holders than outright emancipation. 
Southside Adams's naive remedy was for the northern 
people to invite slave-holders to come up and brii^ 


their slaves with them, so as to prove how mild the 
system was. Some visitors suggested that slaves 
be paid small wages, encoiiraged to thrift and sav- 
ing, and taught to read and write ; but this seemed 
to the south absolutely incompatible with safety. 
Channing proposed that in the slave states every 
slave should have a guardian for his protection and 
should be encoiu-aged to buy himself and his family ; 
then, if the free negroes should be educated and up- 
raised, the whole problem would be solved.* An- 
other proposition was to restrict the sale of slaves, 
as by forbidding the sale of a slavie for debt or the 
separation of a yotmg child from its mother ; another 
was to fix a time beyond which fugitives cotild not 
be recoverable.* 

Had any of these minor remedies been taken up 
in good faith by the south, the abolition movement 
would have lost much of its force. A trial on a 
small scale of the slave-wages scheme was considered 
to be a total failure.* Not a single state took action 
to facilitate self - purchase ; a few ineffective acts 
were passed to limit the sale of little children from 
their mothers — and that was all. The south had 
an instinctive feeling that to admitthat anjrthing 
was wrong in slavery was to give up the principle 

» Adams, Sauihside View, 147-156; Buckingham, Slave States, 
I.. 168; Channing, Works, II., 109-111; Bremer, Homes of the 
New World, 328, 443-448. 

» Adams, Southside View, 135, 151; cf. Nott, Slavery and the 
Remedy, passim; T. S. Qay. Detail of a Plan, passim. 

• Dew, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 426-428. 



that it was a beneficent institution; and it seemed 
to the southern people craven to yield anything to 
the undistinguishing abolition attacks.' 

In fact, the only plan that had any adherents in 
the south was gradual emancipation, combined witli 
the expatriation of all the free negroes, a plan set 
forth in detail by Henry Clay, in a letter of 1849;* 
but even that plan was based upon the theory that 
the negro race should somehow pay for its own 
transportaUon, and the history of the Colonization 
Society showed the lack of interest in the south and 
the hopelessness and the futility of any attempt 
to carry all the negroes away.* In forty years of 
activity, from the first emigration in 1820 to the 
end of the year i860, the Colonization Society, with 

Xan expenditure of $1,806,000, succeeded in carrying 
over to Africa 10,586 negroes (besides about a 
thousand sent by state societies); of these about 
4500 were bom free, 344 purchased their freedom, 
and about 6000 were emancipated to go to Liberia ; 
the largest mmiber transported in any late year 
was 783, in the year 1853. Out of this whole num- 
ber the seven cotton states furnished less than 4000; 
and the customary surplus of births over deaths in 
those states filled up this thirty years' depletion in a 
single month.'' Colonization was a hopeless sugges- 
ytion: first, and^fmally, because it would have cost 

' Dew. in Pro-Slatiery .4rg«m(r«[, 4i6>4i8. 

' Colton, Clay, HI.. 346-353. * See chap, icvii., above. 

* Am. Colonization Soc., Fijtietk Annual Report, 1867, p. 65. 


seven hiindred million dollars to remove the fotir 
millions of people whose labor alone could earn the 
seven htmdred million dollars, provided they re- 
mained in America. 

,' It must never be forgotten that the whole theory 
ofinSoiition depended upon accepting the negro as a 
brother American, who had as good a right to his 
place in the commtmity as his master; and after a 
few years of agitation the abolitionists realized that 
the only means to secure their end was by arousing 
the north. In this result their enemies co-operated 
by their gag resolutions and appeals for silence, but 
on the northern people the movement, after 1840, 
seemed to have spent its force. Agitators, ftmds, 
and public interest diminished. Other reforms — 
woman suffrage, the care of the insane, temperance 
— seemed more to interest the public. ^ At this point 
two questions arose, neither of wmbtT^primarily 
involved abolition, and both of which gave the 
abolitionist a new opporttmity : one was the an- 
nexation of Texas;* the other was fugitive slaves.* 
On both these questions the attitude of the aboli- 
tionists did much to arouse the northern mind, 
although the two movements outran them and were 
taken up by the non-abolitionist anti-slavery people. 
Long before this point was reached the aboli- 
tionists had organized a political movement, which 
was destined to have far greater effects than their 

* Garrison, Westward Extension (Ant. Nation, XVII.), chap. ix. 

* Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. Nation, XVIII.), chap. v. 





philanthroiMC propaganda. The entry of the aboli- 
tionist into politics was cautious and timid. Chan- 
ning. in 1836, complained that "by asstmiing a po- 
litical character they lose the reputation of honest 
enthusiasts. . . . Should they in opposition to all 
probability become a formidable party, they would 
unite the slave-holding states as one man. . . . No 
association like the abolitionists . . . can, by be- 
coming a poUtical organization, rise to power." ' 
The uproar in Congress from 1835 to 1837 put a 
different face upon the whole question of political 
action. The very sensiti\-eness of the pro-slavery 
leaders showed that here was a good point of attack ; 
and there were too many questions upon which the 
federal government could take action for anybody 
convincingly to assert that slavery was wholly out- 
side the jurisdiction of the federal government. 

In vain did Garrison inveigh against an abolition 
party or abolitionist votes. In 1843 he proposed 
to read out of the abolitionist ranks any man who 
woidd take an oath to the Constitution or vote for 
its support.' The next year his Massachusetts Anti- 
Slavery Society, as a body, accepted this dogma, set 
forth in extravagant speeches by Wendell Phillips: 
and they made an effort to fix a stigma upon every 
abolitionist who should vote in the election of that 

So far from accepting Garrison's dictum, the 

• Ibid,, g6-iia, 117— iig. 


middle states and western abolitionists began to use 
their votes directly and to some purpose. Exasper- 
ated at the failure of members of the legislature 
to carry out their pre-election promises, the Ohio 
abolitionists, in the state election of 1838, used their 
balance of power to elect a Democratic governor, 
and they sent Giddings to Congress. When the 
legislature turned its back upon them and enacted 
a state fugitive-slave act in 1839, the abolitionists 
began to put up independent candidates. Mean- 
time, Holly, a New York abolitionist, and Torrey, 
a New-Englander, were organizing like movements 
in the east; and in November, 1839, while many of 
the New England abolitionists were breaking away 
from Garrison, a convention of abolitionists at War- 
saw, New York, nominated James G. Bimey for 
president. This action, repeated by a formal Liberty 
convention in 1840, was followed by state Liberty 
conventions in Ohio and then in northwestern states ; 
and thus the first abolitionist national political party 
was bom, in defiance of Garrison's teachings and a 
protest against his leadership. 

The movement was still feeble: though in 1840 
the societies included probably 50,000 voters, only X 
7100 votes were cast for Bimey, of which about 
a third came from New England. But the change 
in method was startlingly significant: it gave a new 
impulse to the flagging spirits of the abolitionists; 
it formed a new centre for the open discussion of 
slavery; it was one method of organizing opposi- 

VOL. XVI. — ai 



tion to the annexation of Texas; above all, in the 
next two national elections the political abolitionists 
proved to have the balance of power in decisive 
states, and thus gained an importance and considera- 
tion vastly greater than their scanty numbers would 

The Liberty party, in all its ramifications, was 
' substantially an abolitionist movement, at which 
the anti-slavery men in both Whig and Democratic 
parties looked askance. Nevertheless, it swept into 
its ranks two of the most conspicuous men in the 
struggles of the next quarter - century. In 1841, 
Salmon P. Chase, a former Wh^, came over into 
the little Ohio Liberty party, became its leader, and 
with voice and pen tellingly set forth its principles. 
Thus, in a printed address in 1845, he prophesies 
the destruction of slavery by the following methods: 
"By repealing all legislation, and discontantiing all 
action, in favor of slavery, at home and abroad ; by 
prohibiting the practice of slaveholding in all places 
<rf exclusive national jurisdiction, in the District erf 
Columbia, in American vessels upon the seas, in forts, 
arsenals, navy yards: by . . . declaring that slave- 
holding, in all states created out of national terri- 
tories is unconstitutional, . . . and by electing and 
appointing to public station such men, and only 
such men as openly avow our principles, and will 
honestly carry out our measures." ' 
The other man was Charles Sunuier, of Massachu- 
' Hart, Ckase, 60. 


setts, a man of high education, who, from his first 
interest in the cause in 1835, objected to Garrison's 
pronunciamentos against voting. Simmer matured 
slowly, and did not enter public life imtil 1845, but 
in the next year he broke away from the Whigs be- 
cause they supported the Mexican War, and thence- 
forward was a power in the abolition cotmcils and a 
noted anti-slavery orator. 

A writer of great weight, in discussing the election 
of 1840, has said that the " Liberty Party in running 
Bimey, simply conunitted a political crime, evil in 
almost all its consequences ; they in no sense paved 
the way for the Republican Party, or helped forward 
the anti-slavery cause, or hurt the existing organiza- 
tions." * This criticism proceeds upon the assimip- 
tion that the abolitionists expected eventually to 
elect a president or a majority of Congress. Such a 
platform as Chase's was a cotmsel of perfection : its 
author for more than ten years was animated by the 
hope of compelling the Democratic party to take 
over principles which he thought akin to its genius. 
Old Whigs like Giddings had similar hopes for the 
Whig party. The abolitionist use of their balance 
of power to defeat Clay, an opponent of the annexa- 
tion of Texas, in 1844, and Cass, a northern man, in 
1848, was not a childish freak: they wanted to con- 
vince the Whig and Democratic parties that unless 
they made concessions to the anti-slavery feeling 
they would lose the election ; and they hit hardest 

' Roosevelt, Benton (ed. of 1887), 293. 


at those men who seemed to them to owe most 
respect to their feehngs. The anti-slavery partj-. in 
its various forms of Liberty men in 1840 and 1844, 
Free-Soilers in 1848, and Free Democrats in 1852, 
shaped the principles, forged the argimients, and 
trained the leaders who, in 1856, farmed the com- 
bination of anti-slavery Whigs and anti-slaveiy 
Democrats which the abolitjonists had so long 

It is this political movement which most con- 
clusively shows how little Garrison is entitled to be 
taken as the typical or the chief abolitionist. The 
power and force of the abolitionists diverged from 
Garrison upon that issue, and attempted ends of 
which Garrison strongly disapproved.' Abolition- 
ists like Chase adhered to the Union cause, and 
appealed to the Constitution as an anti- slavery 
document. Yet many of the most moderate aboli- 
tionists foresaw a terrible end to the discussion. 
Said Channing, "The blow that would sever the 
Union for this cause, would produce an instantaneous 
explosion to shake the whole land. The moral senti- 
ment against slavery, now kept down by the inter- 
ests and duties which grow out of union, would burst 
its fetters, and be reinforced by the whole strength of 
the patriotic principle."* Indeed, some of the most 
sagacious southerners recognized the fact that sla- 

' Hume, Th« Abotitionisls; Smith, Libtrty and Free Soil PartUs 
in the Northwest, chaps, xvii., xix.; Hart, Chase, chaps, iv., v. 
■See chap, xit., above. 'Chamiing, Works, \., 71, 



very and the free discussion of slavery could not 
exist within the same federation. To say that the 
abolitionists revealed the contradiction between a \ 
free republic and human bondage does not throw 
upon them the responsibility of the catastrophe. 

xEcuVwith all their one-sidedness and intensity, and 
the vituperation indulged in by many of their num- 
ber, the abolitionists laid hold of a principle without y 
which the republic could not exist — the principle, 
namely, that free discussion is the breath of liberty ; 
and that any institution which could not bear the 
light of inquiry, argument, and denimciation was a 
weak and a dangerous institution. If the slave- 
holders could have sat quietly behind their own 
boimdaries and invited the critical world to come 
and see for themselves how good slavery was, if 
they had pruned away the worst excrescences of 
the institution, if they had been able to show by 
superior refinement and wide - spread culture that 
slavery made even the white man's lot more envi- 
able, the abolitionists would have had no fighting- 

.\Another immense advantage of the abolitionists ^^ 
was that the evil which they were attacking was 
localized. In the contemporary movement against 
the use of strong drink, the defenders were in every 
state and in every commtmity, and the agitators had 
to confront and attack their own neighbors; while 
the abolitionists were dealing with something which 
every state in the north by its own statutes repro- 


bated. Hence the main function of the abolition- 
ist movement was to convince the northern people 
that slavery was not only harmful to the south but 
contrary to their own interests. This process put 
a terrible torsion on the federal government, but it 
was in the end effective. 

' Perhaps, after all. the main reason for the event- 
ual spread of anti - slavery, till it became the tenet 
of a considerable majority of the northern people, 
was that the abolitionists were taking hold of the 
"great wheel going up hill," that they were march- ] 
ing with maicm civilization, while the defenders of 
slavery were standi:^ for the obsolete, the abnormal, 
and the impossible. This difference was not ob- 
scured by the intemperate language so plentiful on 
both sides of the controversy, or the prejudice and 
violence of extremists of the two opposite schools, 
who stretched the principles of the Constitution to 
the utmost, or threw them to the winds. The 
breaking strain in the argument for slavery was its 
underlying assumption that a minority of the com- 
munity was entitled to compel the services of the 
majority. Nobody ever more clearly brought out 
that paradox than Abraham Lincoha in a memo- 
randum of 1854 :p If A can prove, however con- 
clusively, that he may of right enslave B, why may 
not B snatch the same argument and prove equally 
that he may enslave A? You say A is white and 
B is black. It is color, then ; the lighter having the 
right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this 


rule you are to be slave to the first man you meet 
with a fairer skin than your own. You do not mean 
color exactly? You mean the whites are intellect- 
ually the superiors of the blacks, and therefore have 
the right to enslave them? Take care again. By 
this rule you are to be slave to the first man you 
meet with an intellect superior to your own. But, 
you say, it is a question of interest, and if you make 
it your interest you have the right to enslave an- 
other. Very well. And if he can make it his in- 
terest he has the right to enslave you." * J 

This was the argimient that most affected the 
plain, common people of the north ; the working- 
man, however slight his sympathy with the slave, /^ 
had an instinctive apprehension that the liberty of 
the white laborer was somehow at stake. He did 
not imderstand the economic reasons why slavery 
was a profitless method of organizing labor; he did 
not comprehend how it weakened the commimity 
in which it existed ; but he did see clearly that sla- 
very depreciated the lot of the man who had noth- 
ing but his own strong arm. As Lowell put it: 


God works for all. Ye cannot hem the hope of being free 
With parallels of latitude, with mountain-range or sea. 
Put golden padlocks on Truth's lips, be callous as ye will, 
From soxd to soxd, o'er all the world, leaps one electric 

* Lincoln, Works, I., 178, 179. 

• Lowell, Poems (Riverside ed.), VIL, 224. 



THE best formal bibliography of slavery and of the sla- 
very question is W. E, B. DuBois, A Select Bibliography 
of th^ Negro American (Atlanta University PMbticatitms, 
No, lo, 1905). Bibliographical data arranged in much the 
same order as the chaptera of this book will be found in 
Channing and Hart, Guide to the Study of Arnerican History 
(1896), Si 148, 152, 161, 186-189, '98. 214; J- N. Lamed. 
Literature of American History, a Bibliographical Guide 
(190a), 181-213, 375-383. each book being briefly criti- 
cised; Albert Bushnell Hart. Handbook of the History. Di- 
plomacy, and Government of the United States f i903),iS igh, 
47. SS- Three recent bibliographies deal with the Negro 
and his status: W. E. B. DuBois, A Select Bibliography 0} 
the American Negro for General Readers {1901); A. P. C, 
Griffin, Select List of References on the Negro Question (Li- 
brary of Congress, 1903); Walter L. Fleming, Documents 
Relating to Reconstruction (1904), 156-163. See also Samuel 
May, Jr., Catalogue of Anti-Slavery Publications in America 
(1863). See also the foot-notes to the secondary writers 
and biographies below. 

Very serviceable bibliographies on both slavery and 
abolition are to be found in appendices to the following 
monographs: Mary S. Locke, Anti-Slavery in America, 
1619-1808 {1901); Marion G. McDougall, Fugitive Slcwes, 
i6ig-i86s [Fay House Monographs, No. 3, 1891); Alice 
D. Adams, The Neglected Period of American Anti-Slavery, 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 325 

1808-1831 (not yet published) ; Mary Tremain, Slavery in 
the District of Columbia (University of Nebraska, Seminary 
Papers, No. 2, 1892); Wilbur H. Siebert, The Underground 
Railroad from Slavery to Freedom (1898) ; W. E. B. DuBois, 
Suppression of the African Slave-Trade (Harvard Historical 
Studies, No. i, 1896); Winfield H. Collins, The Domestic 
Slave-Trade of the Southern States (1904); and the special 
monographs on slavery in particular communities enumer- 
ated below. 


Four formal political histories of the period 1 830-1 860 
include the slavery controversy: John B. McMaster, His- 
tory of the People of the United States (5 vols., published 
1 883-1 900) — as yet reaches only to 1830; James Schouler, 
History of the United States (6 vols., rev. ed., 1 895-1 899) — 
touches on social conditions at II., chap, vii., III., 507- 
531, IV., I- 31, 199-221; Herman E. von Hoist, Consti- 
tutional and Political History of the United States (Lalor's 
transL, 7 vols, and Index vol., 187 7-1 892) — ^really a history 
of the slavery contest, with a strong anti-slavery slant; 
James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States from the 
Compromise of 1850 (5 vols, published, 1 893-1 904) — espe- 
cially vol. I., chap, iv., one of the best brief accotmts of the 
conditions of slavery. Henry Wilson, History of the Rise 
and Fall of the Slave Power in America (3 vols., 1872-1877) 
— by an actor in the slavery drama, but uncritical, diffuse, 
and devoid of references. On the legal aspects of the strug- 
gle, George Ticknor Curtis, Constitutional History of the 
United States (2 vols., 1 889-1 896). II., chap. ix. 

Of specific histories of the struggle: William Henry 
Smith, A Political History of Slavery (2 vols., 1903) — ambi- 
tious but superficial; Horace Greeley, The American Con- 
flict (2 vols., 1864-1866), includes brief extracts from con- 
temporary documents and newspapers, and is serviceable, 
though partisan ; George W. Williams, History of the Negro 
Race in America from 16 ig to 1880 (2 vols., 1883) — diffuse 
and uncritical; vol. II., chaps, iv.-viii., deals with the heat 



of the controversy; George S, Merriam, The Negro and the 
Nation (1906) — makes numerous slips on the history of 
slavery; George Liint, Origin of the Late War (1866) — a 
pro-slavery discussion; John F. Hulme. Tk<! AboiUionists 
(1905) — a defence of the abolitionists; Friedricb Kapp, Dit 
Sklavenfrage in den Vereinigten Slaaten; geschicktcli£k ent' 
urickelt (1854) — strongly anti-slavery. 


General lists may be found in Channing and Hart, Guide 
to the Study of American History (1896). 5 25; and Albert 
Bushnell Hart, Handbook of the History, Diplomacy, and 
Gowrnute'it of the United Slates (1903), S5 130a. 130b. 
Most of the public men of the time are included in the 
American Statesmen Series {rev. ed.. 1899). For the public 
men of the period, see MacDonald, Jeffersonian Democracy 
(Am. Nation, XV.), chap. xix. 
^ Among special biographies of anti-slavery men, first and 
foremost is Wendell P. Garrison and Francis J. Garrison, 
William Lloyd Garrison, the Story of His Life Told by His 
Children, i8o5-i8yg (4 vols., 1885-1889), a storehouse of 
significant material, in a large degree made up of extracts 
from the Liberator; Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and Letters 
of Charles Sumner (4 vols., 1877-1893); William Bimey, 
James G. Bimey and His Times (1890); F. B. Sanbom, 
Life and Letters of John Brown (1885); William H. Chan- 
ning, Memoir of William Ellery Channing {3 vols., 1848}; 
J. W. Schuckers, Life and Public Services of Salmon P. 
Chase (1874); Charles Francis Adams, Richard Henry 
Dana, a Biography (a vols., 1890); Charles W. Chesnutt, 
Frederick Douglass (1899) ; Frank B. Sanbom, Ralph Waldo 
Emerson (1901); A, H. Grimke, William Lloyd Garrison 
the Abolitionist (iSgi); Oliver Johnson, William Lloyd Gar- 
rison and His Times (1881); George W. Julian, Joshua R. 
Giddings (1892); Catherine H. Bimey, Sarah and Angelina 
GrimkiUSSs); Lydia Maria Child, /jtw^ T. Hopper, a True 
Life (1853, aded. i860); Bayard Tuckerman, William Jay 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 327 

and the Constitutional Movement for the Abolition of Slavery 
(1893); Samuel Longfellow, Life of Henry W. Longfellow 
(2 vols., 1886); J. G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham 
Lincoln, a History (12 vols., 1890); J. C. and O. Lovejoy, 
Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy (1838); H. E. Scud- 
der, James Russell Lowell (2 vols., 1901); Anna D. Hallo- 
well, James and Lucretia Mott, Life and Letters (1884) ; T. S. 
Perry, Life and Letters of Francis Lieber (1882); Thomas 
J. Mumford, Afemotr of Samuel Joseph May (1873); O. B. 
Frothingham, Theodore Parker, a Biography (1874) ; Thomas 
Wentworth Higginson, Wendell Phillips (1884) ; O. B. Froth- 
ingham, Gerrit Smith, a Biography (1878); Lewis Tappan, 
Life of Arthur Tappan (1870); Clarence W. Bowen, Arthur 
and Lewis Tappan (1883); S. T. Pickard, Life and Letters 
of John Greenleaf Whittier (2 vols., 1894); A. G. Riddle, 
Life of Benjamin F. Wade (1886). 


Special collections of anti-slavery material exist in the 
Cornell Library (May Collection, see Library of Cornell 
University, Bulletins, I., 229); Boston Public Library 
(Parker Tracts) ; Harvard Ck)llege Library (Sumner Tracts, 
Higginson Tracts, set of the Liberator) ; Providence Public 
Library (Harris materials) ; Library of Congress (a variety 
of rare sources). 

Some of the general collections on the period include 
cogent material, as: Albert Bushnell Hart, American His- 
tory Told by Contemporaries (4 vols., 1 897-1 901); Albert 
Bushnell Hart, Source Book of American History (1900), 
chap, xvii.; Alexander Johnston, American Orations (4 
vols., edited by Woodbum, 1898); Herman V. Ames, State 
Documents on Federal Relations, No. 5, Slavery and the Con- 
stitution (1904). 

Most of the formal biographies of abolitionists and anti- 
slavery men abound in letters and other source material, 
especially the lives of Garrison and Sumner, as do the con- 
troversial works on slavery noted below. Extracts from 



early writers and records in William F. Poole, AtitiSlaivrj 
Opinions bejorc the Year iSoo (1873); Mary E. Locke, 
Anti-Slavery iit America (igoi); George Livennore, //m)<w- 
ical Research Respecting the Opinions of tiie Founders oj 
tlie Republic on Negroes {1861); Daniel R. Goodloe, South- 
em Platjorm (1855); Collections of slave advertisements 
and incidents in Lydia Maria Child, Patriarchal Institution 
(i86o), and in LaRoy Sunderland, Anli-Slavcry Manual 

CoLLBCTED WoRKS OP STATESMEN. — Descriptions of the 
collected works of Clay, Webster, Calhoun, and other 
public men of the period will be found in William MacDon- 
ald, Jacksonian Democracy [Am. Nalion. XV.). chap. xix. 
For anti-slavery men: William Ellery Channing, Works 
{ist ed.. s vols.. 1841; 3d ed., 6 vols., 1843); Joshua R. 
Giddings, Speeches in Congress' (1853); Abraham Lincoln, 
Complete Works {Nicolay and Hay ed., a vols., 1894); 
Wendell Phillips, Speeches, Lectures, and Letters (1863); 
WUliam H. Seward, Works (5 vols., 1853-1884); Charles 
Sumner. Works (15 vols., 1870-1883); John G. Whittier, 
Writings (7 vols., 1888-1889). 

Autobiography and Reminiscence. — The following are 
the principal memoirs of people engaged in the anti-slavery 
contest: John Quincy Adams, Memoirs, comprising Portions 
of His Diary from 1795 to 1848 (la vols.. 1874-1877) — one 
of the most important books; Thomas H. Benton, Thirty 
Years* View, 1820-iS^o (i vols., 1854-1856) — by a western 
man inclined to anti-slavery; Cassius M, Clay, Life, Me- 
moirs, Writings, and Speeches (i vol. published, 1886); 
Reuben Davis, Recollections of Mississippi and Mississip- 
pians (1891); Frederick Douglass, Life and Times, written 
by Himself (1881); J. H. Fairchild. Oberlin, the Colony and 
the College (1883); Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy 
Life (1868); T. W. Higginson. C/t«r/M/ Yesterdays (1898); 
George:'^ . juMblYI. Political Recollections. 1840-1872 (1884); 
Amos Kendall. Autobiography (edited by William Stickney, 
1871) ; Benjamin Lundy, Life, Travels, and Opinions of Ben- 
jamin Lundy (arranged by Thomas Earle, 1S47) ; Samuel J. 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 329 

May, Memoir t consisting of Autobiography and Selections 
from his Diary and Correspondence (1873); James Monroe, 
Oberlin Thursday Lectures, Addresses, and Essays (1897); 
B. F. Perry, Reminiscences of Public Men (two series, 1883, 
1889) — by a southern editor; Alvan Stewart, Writings and 
Speeches on Slavery (edited by L. R. Marsh, i860); H. B. 
Stanton, Random Recollections (2d ed., 1886) ; E. S. Thomas, 
Reminiscences of the Last Sixty-Five Years (2 vols., 1840); 
George Thompson, Prison Life and Recollections (1847). 


Among the best materials for an appreciation of life, 
manners, and conditions in the slavery period are the nu- 
merous travels of foreigners, of which the most important 
published after 1823, together with a few of the American 
travellers, are the following: H. T. Tuckerman, America 
and Her Commentators (1864), discusses critically some of 
\he principal travels; E. S. Ahdy, Journal of a Residence 
and Tour in the United States (3 vols., London, 1835); J. E. 
Alexander, Transatlantic Sketches (2 vols., London, 1833); 
J. J. Amp^, Promenade en Amirique (2 vols., Paris, 1855) ; 
Anonymous, Things as They Are (New York, 1834); C. D. 
Arfwedson. The United States and Canada, in i8j2, i8jj, 
and iSj4 (2 vols., London, 1834); A. F. de Bacourt, Souve- 
nirs of a Diplomat [1837-1843] (New York. 1885); G. C. 
Beltrami, A Pilgrimage in Europe and America (2 vols., 
London, 1828); Bemhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, 
Travels through North America during the Years 1823 and 
1826 (2 vols, in I, Philadelphia, 1828); J. R. Beste, The 
Wabash (2 vols., London, 1855); Frednka Bremer, Homes 
of the New World (2 vols., New York, 1853) ; J. Boardman, 
America and the Americans (London, 1833); T. Bromme, 
Reisen durch die Vereinigten Staaten und Ober Canada (3 
vols. Baltimore, 1834); Thomas Brothers, The United States 
as They Are (London, 1840); J. S. Buckingham, America, 
Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive (3 vols., London, 184 1) ; 
J. S. Buckingham, The Slave States of America (2 vols., Lon- 


don, 1841); J. S. Buckingham, 7"^^ Eastern and IV^sttm 
Slates ofAnicrica {3 vols., London. 1841) ; W. Bullock, 5fcrtf* 
of a Journey through the Western States (London. 1817); T. 
Buttrick, Jr., Voyages. Travels, and Discoveries (Boston, 
1831); Isaac Candler. viSiMwnMfj" View oj America {Loadaa, 
1814); William Chambers, Things as They An iu Antmca 
(London, 1854); M. Chevalier. Society. Manners, and PcJi- 
lies in the United Stales (Boston. 1839. transt. from 3d Paris 
ed.) ; W. Cobbett. A Year's Residence in Ike Unittid States of 
Atufrica (ist ed., London, 1818); E. T. Coke. .4 Subaltern's 
Furlough (a vols, in r. New York, 1833; London. 1S33): J. 
F. Cooper. Notions 0} ihe Americans (2 vols., London. iSaS); 
Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circujatiom 
(London, 184a: many reprints); H. W. E. Eggerling. Be- 
schreibungdcr Vereinigtcn Staalcit von Nord-Amctika {i^ed.. 
Mannheim, 1833); S. A. Ferrall, A Ramble 0} Six Thtmsand 
Miles through ike United Stales of America (London. 1833); 
George W. Featherstonhaugh, Excursion through the Shot 
States (New York. 1844) ; Isaac Fidler, Observations on Pro- 
fessions, Literature. Manners, and Emigration in the United 
Stales and Canada (New York, 1833); John Finch, 7raticijt« 
the Untied States of America and Canada (London. 1833); 
J. Fowler, Journal of a Tour in the State of New York in the 
Year 1830 (London. 1831): 0. von Gerstner. Beschreibung 
einer Reise durck die Vereinigten Slaalen von Nord-Amerika 
(Leipzig. 1843); F. J. Grund, The Americans in their Moral, 
Social, and Political Relations (a vols., London. 1837); P. 
J. Grund, editor. Aristocracy in America (a vols., London. 
1839: German ed., Stuttgart. 1839); Basil Hall. Forty 
Etchings, from Skeukes . . . in Nonk America (Edinburgh. 
iSag): Basil Hall. Travels in North America in the Years 
iSsf and 1828 (3 vols., Edinburgh, 1829); J, Hall, Letters 
from ike West (London, i8a8); T. Hamilton, Men and 
Alanners in America (ad Am, ed.. a vols.. Philadelphia, 
1833); N. Hesse, Das westliche Nordamerika (Paderboni, 
1838) ; Adam Hodgson. Letters from Nortk America (a vols., 
London, 1824): C.F.Hoffman,./! Winter in the West (a vols.. 
New York, 1835); Frances A. Kemble. Journal (a vols.. 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 331 

1835); C. J. Latrobe, The Rambler in North America, 1832- 
1833 (2 vols., New York, 1835); A. Levasseur, La Fayette 
in America in 1824 and 1825 (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1829; 
French ed., 1829); F. Lieber, The Stranger in America (Phil- 
adelphia, 1835); Sir Charles Lyell, Travels in North America 
(a vols., London, 1845); Sir Charles Lyell, Second Visit to 
the United States (2 vols., London, 1849); Alexander Mac- 
kay. The Western World, or Travels , , . in 1846-1847 (2 
vols., Philadelphia, 1849); Harriet Martineau, Retrospect oj 
Western Travel (3 vols., London; 2 vols.. New York, 1838); 
Harriet Martineau, Society in America (2d ed., 3 vols., Lon- 
don, 1837); James W. Massie, America, . . . Her Claim for 
Anti-Slavery Sympathy (London, 1864); Prince Maximilian 
of Wied-Neuwied, Voyage in the Interior of North America 
(London, 1843); B. Morrell, Narrative of Four Voyages to 
the South Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean (New York, 
1832); Prince Achille Murat, America and the^ Americans 
(New York, 1849 — French ed., Lettres sur les Etats-Unis, A 
un de ses Amis d* Europe, Paris, 1830); Amelia M. Murray, 
Letters from the United States, Cuba, and Canada (2 vols, in i. 
New York, 1856) ; C. A. Murray, Travels in North America 
(a vols., New York, 1839, 3d ed., 2 vols., London, 1854); P. 
Neilson, Recollections of a Six Years* Residence in the United 
States of America (Glasgow, 1830) ; T. L. Nichols, Forty Years 
of American Life (2 vols., London, 1864); V. Nolte, Fifty 
Years in Both Hemispheres (New York, 1854); J. K. Paul- 
ding, John Bull in America (New York, 1825) ; T. M. Pavie, 
Souvenirs Atlantiques (2 vols., Paris, 1833); T. Power, Im- 
pressions of America (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1836); C. S. 
Rafinesque, Life of Travels and Researches in North America 
(Philadelphia, 1836; Rafinesque, Works, V.); Frederick von 
Raumer, America and the American People (Turner's transl.. 
New York, 1846); Reed and Matheson, Narrative of a Visit 
to the American Churches (2 vols., 1835) ; F. F. de Roos, Per- 
sonal Narrative of Travels in the United States and Canada 
in 1826 (London, 1827); P. Shirreff, Tour through North 
America (Edinburgh. 1835); Arthur Singleton, Letters from 
the South and West (Boston, 1824); James Stirling, Letters 



from ike Slave Slates (London, 1857); J, Stuart. Three Years 
in North America (a vols.. New York. 1833); J. Stuart, Ref- 
utation of Aspersions oh "Slitarl's Three Years I'w North 
America" (London. 1834); Mrs. F. E, TroUope, Domeslie 
Manners of the Americans (London, 1832); G. T. Vigne, 
Six Months in America (i vols., London, 1833; Philadel- 
phia. 1833); C. H, Wilson, The Wanderer in America 
(Thirsk. 1823); F. P. W. Hersog von Wurteniberg. Rciir 
in Nordamerica wahrend den Jahren iSs2. iSsj, un4 1S24 
(a vols, in i, Mergentheim, 1838); Lorenzo de ZavaIa„J 
Viage a tos Estados Unidos del Norte de America iPaiitfM 
i8j4). I 


Most valuable material on the whole contest is to be 
found in the annual reports of the principal anti-slavery 
organizations, especially the American Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety (beginning 1833), the American Colonization Society 
(beginning 1817). and the various state and local societies. 
The reports of the American Convention from 1808 to 1831 
are widely scattered. Later material has been collected 
by some of the state historical societies and may be reached 
through A. P. C. Griffin, Bibliography of American His- 
torical Societies (American Historical Asscxnation, Report. 
1895, new ed. in preparation). 


For the whole slavery contest there is a wealth of peri- 
odical material on both sides. The great arsenal of the 
anti-slavery men is William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator 
(1831-1865), many of the significant parts reprinted in 
the Garrisons, William Uoyd Garrison. From the south- 
em point of view the best general authority is J. D. B. 
De Bow. De Bow's Commercial Review of the South and West 
(39 vols.. 1846-1870). On the whole impartial, though 
rather inclined to pro-slavery, is Hezekiah Niles, Niles' 
Weekly Register (j6 vols., 1811-1849); more general in scope 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 333 

is Hunfs Merchants* Magazine and Commercial Review (63 
vols., 1839-1870). Distinctly pro-slavery is the Southern 
Literary Messenger (36 vols., 1834-1864). Of newspap>ers, 
the following are the principal distinctively abolition jour- 
nals: The Emancipator, edited by R. G. Williams (New 
York and Boston, 1 834-1 848); The Philanthropist, edited 
by Bimey and Bailey (Cincinnati, 1836-1847) ; The Genius 
of Universal Emancipation, edited by Benjamin Lundy 
(variotis places, 1821-1838) — complete set in the Boston 
Public Library, except two volumes; Herald of Freedom, 
edited by J. H. Kimball and others (Concord, New Hamp- 
shire, 1 835-1 846); North Star, edited by Frederick Doug- 
lass (Rochester, New York, 1 847-1 863) ; National Anti-Sla- 
very Standard, edited by N. P. Rogers and others (New York, 
1840-1864); Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio, 1845-1861). 
Files of these papers are rare and imperfect. A metropol- 
itan anti-slavery weekly of much influence was The National 
Era, edited by Dr. Gamaliel Bailey (Washington, 1847- 
1864). The Colonization Society issued the African Re- 
pository, and The Colonizationist, a Journal of Freedom, 
The only notable daily newspaper with a strong anti-slavery 
slant was the New York Tribune, edited by Horace Greeley 
(beginning 1841). 


A brief bibliography of social conditions is in Channing 
and Hart, Guide (1896), § 180. The basis for most of the 
statistical discussion and comparison is the publications of 
the United States Censuses for 1830, 1840, 1850, i860, 
which are conveniently analyzed in Edward C. Lunt, Key 
to the Publications of the United States Census, lygo-iSSj 
(American Statistical Association, Publications, 1888) — 
these census figures are crude and not very well analyzed. 
The best contemporary on social standards in the thirties 
is Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (2 vols., 
Paris, 1835, 1840; also in several American translations), 
and some other foreign travellers, especially Buckingham, 

▼OL. XVI. — a a 

jTom lajo to iSOo (U. S. Co 

1900-1901, pp. 3^7-401): ; 

//«■ Commoyi-School System 

JI- 1379-1474). 

On literature, see W. P. 

B. B. Minor, Southern Litet 
On religion, and especial 

churches: J. M. Bwkley, 

United SlaUs(i&g6); S. M. 

Society of Friends to 1828 

Beecher, AiilobiografAy (a 
Wright. Aulobiogra^y {185 
J. Baird, History of the Neu 
The Church and Slavery ( 
American Churches the But 
ed.. i84i); Charles K. Wh 
Board of Commissioners of 
(1861): Richard Furman, 
Baptists relative to the Colore 


The general economic chai 
in three brief books; Carroll 1 
of the United Stales (1895); I 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 335 

merce, and other economic topics. Discussions of economic 
conditions are all more or less controversial: J. D. B. 
De Bow, Industrial Resources, etc., of the Southern and West-- 
ern States (3 vols., 1852-1853) — made up chiefly of extracts 
from De Bow*s Review, arranged in cyclopaedic form ; J. E. 
Caimes, The Slave Power, its Character, Career, and Probable 
Designs (1863), a powerful economic argument against sla- 
very, foimded chiefly on Olmsted. Frederick Law Olmsted, 
in the fifties, made long joiuneys through the heart of the 
south and embodied his observations in three voltmies: A 
Journey in the Seaboard Slave States (1856, new ed., 1904); 
A Journey through Texas (1857); A Journey in the Back 
Country (1861). Parts of these three books are reprinted 
in The Cotton Kingdom, a Traveller's Observations on Cotton 
and Slavery (2 vols., 1861) — although a distinct opponent 
of slavery, Olmsted's statements of fact have always been 
unquestioned. Less-searching contemporaries are: Daniel 
R. Goodloe, An Inquiry into the Causes which Retard the . . . 
Southern States (1846); Thomas P. Kettell, Southern Wealth 
and Northern Profits (1861) — by a former editor of the 
Democratic Review; Hinton R. Helper, The Impending 
Crisis of the South, How to Meet It (1857 and many re- 
prints) — an unskilled but vigorous attempt to arouse the 
poor whites. The most important sources on social and 
economic history are De Bow's Review (i 846-1 870), Hunt's 
Merchants' Magazine (i 839-1 870), Niles' Weekly Register 
(1811-1849), and George M. Weston, The Progress of Slavery 
in the United States (1857). 

Among recent books describing ante-bellum conditions, 
the best are: Edward Ingle, Southern Sidelights, a Picture 
of Social and Economic Life in the South a Generation before 
the War (1896) — well arranged and thoughtful; W. G. 
Brown, The Lower South in American History (1902); 
Thomas Nelson Page, The Old South, Essays Social and 
Political (1892) — perhaps too roseate; J. C. Reed, The 
Brothers' War (1905). 

On cotton the best authority is Matthew B. Hammond, 
The Cotton Industry, an Essay in American Economic His- 


lory (American Economic Association. Publuations. new 
series, No. r, 1897), A modem discussion is U. B. Phillips, 
"Economic Cost of Slaveholding " {Political Science Quar- 
terly, XX,, 357 — 375)- Pro-slavery contemporaries are: 
David Christy, Colton is King (ad ed., 1856); J. D. B. De 
Bow, Industrial Resources of the Soulhcrti and Western Stales 
(3 vols.. 1851-1853). I.. 114-343. 

On transportation and travel, the best special books are: 
Milton Reizenstein, Economic History of tite Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad {Johns Hopkins University Studies, XV., No. 
7, 1897) ; G. W. Ward, Early DevelopmeKt of the Chesapeake 
and Ohio Canal Project {ibid., XVII.. Nos. 9-11. 1899); 
Jeremiah S. Young, Political and Constilulional Study of 
the Cumberland Road (1904) — confused but serviceable; 
Archer B. Hulbert, Hislorie Highways of Anterica (16 vols.. 
ipoi-ipojj. e^ecially XI.-XIV,; S. A. Mitchell, Compen- 
dium of the Internal I mpraveynents of the United States (jSis); 
G. S. Callender, "Early Transportation and Banking En- 
terprises of the States" {Quarterly Journal of Economics, 
XVII,. 111-162). Compare the list of writers in Turner, 
New West {Am. Nation, XIV.), 348-350. 


Recent favorable views are : Booker T. Washington and 
others, The Negro Problem (1903); William A, Sinclair, The 
Aftermath of Slavery (1905) — bya former slave; Joseph A. 
Tillinghast, The Negro in Africa and America (American 
Economic Association, Publications, 3d series. 111,, No, 3, 
1903) — thoroughgoing and thoughtful; George W, Cable, 
The Silent South, together with the Freedman's Case in Equity 
(1885); T. J. Morgan, The Negro in America and the Ideal 
American Republic (1898); W. E. B. DuBois. The Souis of 
Black Folk (1903) — a plea for the largeness of negro char- 

Unfavorable recent books are: Frederick L. Hoffman, 
Race Trails and Tendencies of the American Negro (Ameri- 
can Economic Association, Publications, XI., Nos. 1—3, 
1896) ; William B. Smith. The Color Line, a Brief in Behalj 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 337 

of the Unborn (1905) ; W. H. Thomas, The American Negro, 
What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become 
(1901) — an exaggerated criticism of the race by a negro; 
W. Laird Clowes, Black America, a Stttdy of the Ex-Slave 
and His Late Master ( 1 89 1 ) — the negro tinder reconstruction ; 
Philip A. Bruce, The Plantation Negro as a Freeman (1889) 
— a study of negro laborers. A significant book on negro 
characteristics is H. J. Nieboer, Slavery as an Industrial 
System, Ethnological Researches (Hague, 1900). 

Among pro-slavery argiunents that the negro was hope- 
lessly inferior, or even a beast, see especially: George Fitz- 
hugh» Cannibals All (1857) ; Ariel [B. H. Pa)me], The Negro, 
What is His Ethnological Status (1867); J- D- B. De Bow, 
Industrial Resources of the Southern and Western States (3 
vols., 1852-1853), II., 315-344; and pro-slavery a]::guments 
cited below. 

On the status of the free negro, see the controversial 
works and Ohio Anti- Slavery Society, Report on Condi- 
tion of the People of Color in the State of Ohio (1835); William 
Jay, On the Condition of the Free People of Color in the 
United States (in his Miscellaneous Writings on Slavery, 
1^53)* The law of the free negro and slave is set forth in 
four treatises: T. R. R. Cobb, An Inquiry into the Law of 
Negro Slavery (i vol. only, 1858) — strongly pro-slavery; 
George M. Stroud, Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery 
(1856) ; William Goodell, American Slave Code in Theory and 
Practice (1853); Richard Hildreth, Despotism in America 
(1854) — all anti-slavery; John C. Htird, The Law of Free- 
dom and Bondage (2 vols., 1 858-1 862) — prepared as a law- 
book, technical but searching; also James E. Cutler, Lynch 
Law, an Investigation into the History of Lynching (1905) — 
on mob law. 


Formal Arguments. — Among the most thoroughgoing 
argvmients for slavery are four books by northerners: 
Bishop John Henry Hopkins, A Scriptural, Ecclesiastical, 
and Historical View of Slavery (1864) — chiefly Scriptural; 


Dr. John H. Van Evrie, Negroes and Negro Slavery (1853) — 
an argument on physical grounds: Rev. Nehemiah Adams. 
A Soiithside View of Slavery, or Three Months at the South 
(1854) — a roseate picture, throwing whatever blame there 
was on the north; Rev. Samuel Seabury, AmcritaK Slavery 
■ . . Justified by the Law 0/ Nature (1861). 

The most comprehensive defences of slavery are: Tht 
Pro-Slavery Argument (1853), by several authors, which 
covers the mora], political, and economic sides of the 
subject from various points of view; Albert T. Bledsoe. 
An Essay on Liberty and Slavery (1856); James K. Paul- 
ding. SliK'ery in the United Stales (1836) — fairly impartial. 
The Biblical argument appears in Howell Cobb, Scriptural 
Examination of the Institution of Slat'sry (1856); Thornton 
Stringfellow, Scriptural and Statistical Views in Favor of 
Slavery {4th ed.. 1836). 

Southern Dbscriptions. — Good pictures of plantatioii 
life by members of slave-holding families or by friendly 
visitors are: Emily P. Burke, Reminisccttces of Georgia 
(1850); Mrs. V. V. Clayton. IVhile and Black under the Old 
Rigitne (1899) — a vivacious but rather superficial book; 
Mrs. Roger A. Pryor, Reminiscences of Peace and War 
(1904) ; John S. Wise, End of an Era (1899) — contains two 
critical chapters on slavery; E. A. Pollard. Black Diamonds 
Gathered in the Darkey Homes of the South (1859) — racy and 
suggestive: Susan D.Smedes.A/emortoii of a SoulhemPlanter 
(Thomas Dabney) (1887) — a description of a slave-holding 


Formal Works. — First in interest and in detail is W. P. 
and F. J. Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison (4 vols., 1885- 
i88g), which discusses most of the controverted questions. 
Samuel J. May, Some Recollections of Our Anti-Slavery 
Conflict (1869), is a lively, first-hand account by a man who 
was in the thick of the fight; William Goodel!, Slavery and 
Anti-Slavery (1852). is rather more abstruse. William Jay 
wrote several monographs, especially A View of the Action 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 339 

of the Federal Government in Behalf of Slavery (1839) and 
An Inquiry into tJte Character and Tendency of the American 
Colonization and A merican A nti-Slavery Societies ( 1 83 5) , both 
reprinted in his Miscellaneous Writings on Slavery (1853); 
James Freeman Clarke, Anti-Slavery Days (1883), is a pict- 
ure of the agitation in Boston. See also the biographies 
cited above. Southern anti-slavery sentiment is shown in 
Stephen B. Weeks, Anti-Slavery Sentiment in the South 
(Southern History Association, Publications, II., No. 2); 
Stephen B. Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery (Johns 
Hopkins University Studies , extra vol. XV., 1896); John 
S. Bassett, Anti- Slavery Leaders of North Carolina (ibid, 
XVI., No. 6, 1898). 

Special Arguments. — ^The general books and biogra- 
phies often state or summarize the arguments on slavery. 
Against the Scriptural argument three books may be cited: 
Rev. Albert Barnes, An Inquiry into the Scriptural Views 
of Slavery (1846); Rev. George B. Cheever, The Guilt of 
Slavery and the Crime of Slaveholding (i860); Augustin 
Cochin, The Results of Slavery (transl. by Booth, 1863). 
Lydia Maria Child wrote several suggestive books, espe- 
cially. An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans called 
Africans (1833); Authentic Anecdotes of American Slavery 
(2d. ed., 1838); Anti-Slavery Catechism (1836); The Patri- 
archal Constitution as Described by Members of its Own Family 
(i860); 7^^005*5(1834). Other useful books are: Daniel 
R. Goodwin, Southern Slavery in its Present Aspects (1864); 
J. D. Paxton, Letters on Slavery (1833); Harriet Beecher 
Stowe, Key to Uncle Tom*s Cabin (1853); Rev. John Ran- 
kin, Letters on American Slavery (2d ed., 1836) — one of the 
best siunmaries of anti-slavery argument; Rev. Charles 
Elliott, Sinfulness of American Slavery (2 vols., 1851) — an 
analytic discussion; Parker Pillsbury, Acts of the Anti- 
Slavery Apostles (1884) — ill-arranged extracts and data; 
T. D. Weld, American Slavery as It Is, Testimony of a 
Thousand Witnesses (1839). 

Visitors. — Among the many unfavorable witnesses are : 
Frances Anne Kemble, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian 


Plantation (1863) — the darkest picture of slavery; WtUiani 
Chambers, American Slavery and Colour (1857) — by an in- 
telligent (oraign visitor; George W. Cable, Strange Trve 
Stories 0} Louisiana (1889) — several interesting episodes of 
slavery; William H. Russell. My Diary North and South 
(1863) — by a correspondent of the London Times; E. H, 
Botume, First Days amongst the Contrabands (1893): T. W, 
Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment (1870) — first- 
hand accounts of frcedmen. 

Slave Narratives. — Many fugitives who escaped to the 
north told their stories, which were often put into literary 
form by anti-slavery friends. Such books are: Chailes 
Steams. Narrative of Henry Box Brawn (1S4Q); Frederick 
Douglass, My BoMdagc a«J Afy Fre«fom (i 855) ; W. G. Eliot, 
The Story of Archer Alexander (1885); Narrattiv of Events 
in the Life of WiUiam Green {1853); Life of J. Hensom, 
Formerly a Slave (1849) ; Experiences of Thomas Jones, who 
was a Slave for Forty-Three Years {1850) ; W, G. Hawkins. 
Lunsford Lane (1863) ; R. Hildreth, The Slave, or Memoirs 
of Archy Moore (i vols., 1836); Solomon Northup, Twelve 
Years a Slave, Narrative of Solomon Northup (1853); Nar- 
rative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper (1837); 
L. W. Paine, Six Years in a Georgia Prison (1852) ; Kate E. 
R. Pickard, The Kidnapped and the Ransomed [Peter Still] 
(1846); Narrative of Sojourner Truth {1850); Narrative of 
Henry Watson, a Fugitive Slave (1845); Booker T. Washing- 
ton, Up from Slavery, an Autobiography (1901). 


Several carefully digested monographs deal with slavery 
in a particular colony or state. In the Johns Hopkins Uni- 
versity Series: J. R. Brackett. The Negro in Maryland (extra 
vol. VI., 1889), and Notes on the Progress of the Colored Peo- 
ple of Maryland Since the War (VIU.. 'N05.. 7-g, 1890): J. H. 
T. McPherson, History of Liberia (IX., No. 10, 1891); E. 
Ingle, The Negro in the District of Columbia (XL, Nos. 3, 4, 
1893) ; B. C. Steiner, History of Slavery in Connecticut (XL. 
Nos. 9, 10. 1893) ; H. S. Cooley, Slavery in New Jersey (XIV, 

i86o] AUTHORITIES 341 

Nos. 9, 10, 1896) ; J. S. Bassett, History of Slavery in North 
Carolina (XVII., Nos. 7. 8, 1899); J. C. Ballagh. White Ser- 
vitude in the Colony of Virginia (XIII., Nos. 6, 7, 1895); E. 
L. Whitney, Government in the Colony of South Carolina 
(XIII., Nos. I, 2, 1895); E. J. McCormac, White Servitude in 
Maryland (XXII., Nos. 3, 4, 1904). Other similar mono- 
graphs are: K. F. Geiser, Redemptioners and Indentured 
Servants in Pennsylvania (Yale Review, X., No. 21, supple- 
ment, 1901) ; Mary Tremain, Slavery in the District of Colum- 
bia (University of Nebraska, Seminary Papers, No. 2, 1892) 
— very useful ; Edward McCrady , Slavery in the Province of 
South Carolina, i6yo-iyjo (American Historical Associa- 
tion, Report, 1895, pp. 629-673); Edwin V. Morgan, Stovery 
in New York (American Historical Association, Papers, V., 
1891) ; Charles Deane, Letters and Documents Relating to Sla- 
very in Massachusetts (1877); George H. Moore, Notes on 
Slavery in Massachusetts (i866); Edward Bettle, Noticed of 
Negro Slavery in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Historical So- 
ciety, Memoirs, I., 1826); Edward Needles, Historical Me- 
moir of the Pennsylvania Society (1848) ; Alexander Savine, 
Bondsmen under the Tudors (Royal Historical Society, 
Transactions, new series, XVII., 235-289) ; N. Dwight Har- 
ris, History of Negro Servitude in Illinois (1904) ; E. B. Wash- 
bume. Sketch of Edward Coles and of the Slavery Struggle of 
182J-1824 (1882); J. P. Dimn, Jr., Indiana, a Redemption 
from Slavery (1888) ; J. N. Davidson, Negro Slavery in Wis- 
consin (in Wisconsin Historical Society, Proceedings, 1903, 
pp. 82-99) ; Louis Pelzer, The Negro and Slavery in Early 
Iowa {Iowa Journal of History and Politics, II., 471-484, 
1904) ; A. J. Northrup, Slavery in New York (State Library, 
Bulletins, History, No. 4, 1900); T. W. Smith, The Slave in 
Canada (Nova Scotia Historical Society, Collections, X., 
1899); C. T. Yivckdk,, Negro in Ohio, 1802- 1870 (Western 
Reserve University, 1896). 


Fugitives and the Underground Railroad. — On this 
subject there are several excellent books: Marion G. 


McDougall. Fugitive Slaves. i6iq-iS6j (Fay House A/iWi*- 
graphs. No. 3. 1891) — brief but to the point, with excellent 
foot-notes and bibliography; William H. Siebert. Thg 
Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom (1898) — 
derived from interviews and correspondence with old 
abolitionists; William Still. The Underground Railroad 
(187). enlarged ed., 1883) — by a negro who was station- 
master on the U. G. in Philadelphia; Levi CofSn, Reminis- 
ceK:es (i8;6) — in charge of the work at Cincinnati; Danid 
Drayton, Personal Memoir, . . . includittg a Narrative of 
Voyage and Capture of Schooner "Pearl" (1853); Joel 
Parker, Personal Liberty Laws (1861); Benjamin Drew, 
North-Side View of Slavery, . . . or the Narratives of Ftigi- 
tive Staves in Canada {1856); S. G. Howe. Refugees from 
Slavery in Canada West (1864). 

Colonization. — On colonization in Liberia the best 
brief history is John H. T. McPherson, History of Liberia 
{Johns Hopkins University Studies , IX., No. 10, 1891); aeon- 
temporary book is Achibald Alexander, History of Coloni:ui- 
tion on the Western Coast of Africa (1846). The standard 
sources are the publications of the American Colonization 
Society, especially their Annual Reports; the work of half 
a century is sumraariied in Fiftieth Annual Report (1867). 
The Society also issued The African Repository and Colonial 
Journal (1835 - 1876). A similar publication, not official, 
was the monthly Colonizationist, a Journal of Freedom 
(beginning 1833). 

Insurrections. — The best books are: T. W. Higginson, 
Travellers and Outlaws (1889) — careful accounts of the 
principal insurrections; W. S. Drewry, Stave Insurrections 
in Virginia (tgoo); Joshua Coffin, An Account of Some of 
the Principal Slave Insurrections (i860); Federal Aid in 
Domestic Disturbances {Senate Documents, 57 Cong., a Sess., 
No. 109) — action of the federal government; James E. 
Cutler, Lynch Laiv (1905) — -punishment of insurrections. 
A negro advocate of insurrection was David Walker, 
Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles (1829; id ed., 1830). 

Foreign Slave-Trade. — Inasmuch as the foreign slave- 





trade was strictly prohibited by federal law, that subject 
hardly enters into the anti - slavery controversy. The 
standard monograph is W. E. B. DuBois, The Suppression 
of the African Slave - Trade to the United States of Amer- 
ica, 1 6 38-1 870 {Harvard Historical Studies, No. i, 1896) — 
scholarly, full, and abounding in foot-notes. A standard 
account of the African slave-trade and middle passage is 
Thomas Powell Buxton, The African Slave-Trade (Am. ed., 
1839). Other books : Commander Andrew H. Foote, Africa 
and the American Flag (1854); H. C. Carey, The Slave- 
Trade, Domestic and Foreign (1853); John R. Spears, The 
American Slave-Trade (1900) — a sketchy, popular book. 

Domestic Slave-Trade. — The only monograph is Win- 
field H. Collins, The Domestic Slave-Trade of the Southern 
States (1904) — interesting but not very full. The subject 
is discussed in the monographs on slavery in particular 
communities noticed above, and crops out in many of the 
controversial writings. 


Abolitionists, religious phase 
of movement, 15 ; and litera- 
ture, 31, 32; catises, 170- 
172; purpose compared with 
anti-slavery, 173-175; bor- 
der-state movement, 175- 
179; southern leaders m 
north. 179; Limdy organizes, 
180; Garrison as leader, 180, 
104, 320; Liberator, 180-183; 
New England society, 183; 
national society, 18^; its 
principles, 184; growth, 184; 
Garrison leaders, 184-187; 
New England non-Garrisons, 
188; in middle states, 189; 
western, 190-196; Lane Sem- 
inary discussion, 190, 191; 
Oberlin as centre, 191-193; 
Ohio state society, 193; Bir- 
nev's Philanihrofnst, 193; 
other western societies, 194; 
diverse sectional develop- 
ment, 194, 196; Chase as 
political, 195; in Western 
Reserve, 196; dissensions of 
eastern, 197-201; question of 
women agitators, 198; and 
church disruption, 198; non- 
political covenant, 200; and 
other isms, 200; split, 200; 
effect of split, 201; decay as 
national moral force, 201, 
315; adversaries on motives, 
ao2, 232; character, 203; 
method of agitation, 203, 232 ; 
and gradual emancipation, 

204; and slave-holders, 204, 
310; knowledge of slavery, 
205 ; and right of discussion, 
205,234,244,312,521; prop, 
aganda, 206; typical meet- 
ing, 206; publications, 207, 
r32; negro leaders, 208, 209; 
Ens^lish co-operation, 209; 
Iristi address, 210; social 
ostracism, 210; and eastern 
colleges, 210; clerical oppo- 
sition, 211, 212; clerical sup- 
port, 213; church split on, 
213; association with ne- 
groes, 215, 315; and amal- 
gamation, 210; incendiary 
publications, 216; and slave 
insurrections, 2x7-221; and 
fugitives, 221; southern 
threats against, 235 ; arrested 
in south, 235; mobbed there, 
235; south demands north- 
em suppression, 236, 237; 
antagomsm with coloniza- 
tion, 239 ; and difficulties 
of emancipation, 241; ap- 
peals to state governments, 
242; and slavery in states, 
242 ; northern agitation 
against, 242, 243; movement 
for legislation against, 243, 
244; within the law, 244; 
Massachusetts hearin?, 244; 
attacks on their schools, 244, 
245; mobbed in north, 245- 
249; reaction, 249; repre- 
sentation in Congress, 250; 



and Constitution, 350-155; 
petitions to Congress. 356, 
>s8; congression^ attacks 
on, 256-259; gag resolutions, 
asg-ifti; Adams's defence 
ot petition, 160; Calhoun's 
resolution on (iSj;), j6i- 
963: attitude of congres- 
sional leaders. 3G3-369; re- 
sult of congressional agita- 
tion, J74; publications ex- 
cluded from mail, 186-3S8; 
southern indictments and 
demand for extradition, a88; 
southern rewards for. 3S9; 
Van Buren on, 397; effect on 
condition of daves, ^09; no 
common starting-point with 
defenders of slavery, 310; ad- 
vantage due to contradictory 
defences of slavery, 311. 313; 
to refusal to try other reme- 
dies, 313; rise of political. 
315-317; Liberty party. 317- 
319; use of political balance 
of power, ^19; advantage 
due to sectionalism of sla- 
very, 331; to harmony with 
moral evolution, 331; and 
cause of frte labor, 313 
general bibhography. 334- 
316; of biographies, 326; of 
sources. 337—339, 333; of ar- 
guments. 338-140. Sea also 
An ti -slavery, Slavery. 

Adams, C. F., and abolition, 

Adams, J. Q., and right of 
search, 164; attitude towards 
slavery and abolition, 171 
163, 368; and abolition peti 
tions (1831), 356; protests 
gag resolution, j6o; attempt 
to censure (1S38), 369; 
(1844). 373, 373; o\-enhrows 
gag, 171 : on emancipation 
througn war, 371; and New 
Jersey certificates, 306. 

Adams, Nehemiah, on co 

and slavery. 61: champtom 
slavery. 137. 
Advance system" in south, 

Africon Repository. 161. 

Agriculture, southern depend- 
ence, ^4—56; southern lands, 
56; character of southern, 
57, 6>: southern staples, sj- 
63; slave tabor, 98, 99. ^ 
also Cotton. 

Alton, Lovejoy riot. 348. 

Amalgamation, evidences. So- 
83; and abolitionists. 316. 

American and Foreign Anti- 
Slavery Society, 301 . 

American Anti-Slavery Society, 
founded. 183; principles. 184; 
split, 30I. See also Aboli- 

American Bible Society, work, 
14; and slavery, 313. 

American Board of Foreign 
Missions and slavery, 313. 

American Colonization Society. 
See Colonization. 

American Convention for Aboli- 
tion of Slavery, 161. See also 

Anti-slavery, colonial, 53: eco- 
nomic elements, 53, 54, 169; 
early protests, 153; and 
Revolution. 153: and natu- 
ral rights. 153, 166; first 
society, 153; northern eman- 
pation, 153; territorial leg- 
tation, 1 54-136 : popular 
movement. 1 57 ; enect of 
Haiti. 157; in south. 158; 
papers, 159; formal litera- 
ture, 159; middle-states lead- 
ers, 159; church movement, 
160; local societies, 160; 
national convention, t6i; 
decay of movement, 163. 165, 
173; in Congress before 1830. 
164; arguments based on 
ChristiamU'. 167 ; on cruelty, 
167; on eHect on whites, 16S; 



and abolition , 173-175; Vir- 
ginia movement (1829-1833), 
176—178. See also Aboli- 
tionists, Colonization. 

Ashburton treaty on slave- 
trade, 201. 

Astor, J. J., wealth, 7. 

Bailey, Gamaliel, and Lane 
Seminary secession, 191; ab- 
olitionist, 195, 207. 

Baltimore, northern trade, 66. 

Bancroft, George, as historian, 

Bank of United States, state 
charter, 298; resumes sp)ecie 
payments, 305; attempt to 
recharter, 305; fails, 306. 

Banks, southern, 64; condition 
(1837). 298; general laws, 
298; state-owned, 298; wild- 
cat, 298; suspension, 303; 
resumption, 305; panic of 
1839, 306. 

Banneker, Benjamin, astrono- 
mer, 95. 

Baptists and slavery, 160. 

Barnes, Alfred, abolitionist, 21^. 

Bates, Joshua, arbitrates Creole 
case, 295. 

Baxter, Richard, on slavery, 

Beecher, H. W., as preacher, 


Beecher, Lyman, and anti- 
slavery, 100, 191. 

Berrien, J. M., on negro seamen 
act, 290. 

Bibliographies of slavery and 
abolition, 324; of social con- 
ditions, 333. 

Biographies of abolitionists, 
326, 328. 

Bimey, J. G., southern anti- 
slavery, 158; moves north, 
abolitionist , 170; Philan- 
thro^st, mobbea, 193, 248; 
Matilda case, 281 ; candidacy 
(1840), 317, 319. 

Border states, conditions and 
interests, 65. 

Boston, in 1840, 6; and aboli- 
tionists, 243; Garrison mob, 
246, 247; Latimer case, 28a. 

Botts, J. M., and censure of 
Giddings, 274. 

Brazealle case, 81. 

Bremer, Fredrika, and slavery, 

Brook Farm commtmity, 18. 

Brown, H. B., fugitive slave, 

Brown, J. L., aids fugitives, 

Brown, John, aids fugitives, 

Brown, Moses, supports gradual 
emancipation, 204 

Bryant, W. C, as editor, 29; 
as poet, 30. 

Buchanan, James, and aboli- 
tion petitions, 259. 

Burleigh, C. C, abolitionist, 

Burr, J. E., imprisoned, 222. 

Buxton, Sir T. F., and colonial 
slavery, 171. 

Cabinet, Van Buren'S, 297. 

Calhotm, J. C, on slaveiy as 
positive good, 150; on aooli- 
tionists, 232; on abolitionist 
petitions, 258; resolutions 
(1837), 261-263; *^s apostle 
of slavery, 268; and aboli- 
tion mail, 287. 

Canaan, New Hampshire, de- 
struction of negro school, 

Canada, fujritive slaves in, 229. 

Canals, influence of Erie, 36; 
federal land grants, 37; state 
systems, 37-39 ; foreign loans, 
39; abandoned. 39; effect, 39. 

Canterbury, Connecticut, Cran- 
dall school, 245. 

Cartwrieht, Peter, as frontier 
preacher, 14. 



Cass, Lewis, and " Quintuple 
Treaty," 3gi. 

Ch&nning, W. E.. as preacher, 
a6; as abolitionist, i8g. 313; 
and Garrison, 197; on right 
to discuss slavery, 306: on 
amalgamation, zi6; and fu- 

E 'lives, 311; on "higher 
w," »sj; remwly for sla- 
very, 313; on political aboli- 
tion, 316; forsees Civil War, 

Charleston in 1840, 7. 

Chafie. S. P., as atxtUtionist, 
195; elected to Senate, 196; 
on Constitution and slavery, 
353; Matilda case. »8i: Van 
Zandt case, 383; joins Liber- 

S 'party, 318; onwaytoend 
avery, 318. 
Chesapeake and Ohio C-anal. 38. 
Child, Lydia M., as abolition 

agitator, 198. 
Chinese coolies suggested for 

south, 73. 
Cilley, Jonathan, duel, S. 
Cincinnati, pro-slavery mob, 
uiti-slavery lead- 

Cities. 1 



weak gov- 

Qarke, J. F,, abolitionist, 313. 
Clarkson. Thomas, and slave- 
trade, 158; and colonial 
slavery, 171. 
Day, C. M,, abolitionist, 178: 

paper, 178; mobbed, 234. 
Clay, Henry, frees slaves, 133; 
and colonization, 161: and 
abolition. 233. 266; remedy 
for slavery. 314. 
ainton Hall riot. 346. 
Coffin. Levi. Underground Rail- 
Colleges, number and type, 33; 
curricula, 34; presidents. 35; 




of cotton-state demand, 
national society, its activity, 
163-164.314: state aid, 163; 
federal aid. 163 ; absorb* 
anti-slavery interest. t6y. 
contradictory southern sup- 
port, 337; Liberia, 338; 
antagonism with abolition, 
3J9; hopeless remedy. 314; 
bibliography. 333, 343. 

Ccmrl slave case, 393. 

Concklin, Seth, aids fugitives. 

Congregationalism, in 1830, 13; 
and slavery, 19S, iii. 

Congress, and slave-trade, 157; 
and colonization, t6i; and 
slavery id District of Cohtni' 
bia, 16;; control by ^av« 
interests, 16S; abolition peti- 
tions, 356, 357, 370; action 
of Senate on them, 157—359; 
first gag resolution, 359-361; 
'"Memorable Secession." 361; 
Calhoun's slavery resolutions 
{1837). 261-363; basts of 
Adams's attitude on gag, 
263; Giddings evades ^g. 
364 : leaders on abolition. 
365-369; attempts to cen- 
sure Adams, 369, 373; re- 
newal of gag, 370; overthrow 
of gag, 371; censure of Gid- 
dings, 273: result of aboli- 
tion agitation, 374; and ex- 
clusion of abohtion mail, 387 ; 
distribution act (1S36}, 399; 
and panic of 1S37. 303, 304; 
Sub-Treasury. 305-307 ; New 
Jersey certificates. 306. 

Connecticut, gradual emancipa- 
tion. 154; jury trial for fugi- 
tive slaves, 38t, 

Constitution, federal, slavery 
and abolition, 350-355; and 
petition. 260; interstate 
status of slavery, 376; laws 
of local application, 388. 

Cooper, J. F., as novelist, 29, 



Cooper, Thomas, as college pres- 
iclent, 2K. 

Com, southern culture, 58. 

Cotton, effect on slavery, 53; 
manufacture, 54, 64; and 
slave labor, 59, 61; white 
cultivation, 60; output and 
price, 60, 61; bibliography, 

Cotton-seed waste, 61. 

Crafts, Ellen, fugitive slave, 

Crandall, Prudence, negro 

school, 245. 
Crandall, Reuben, trial, 235. 
Creole slave case, 294. 
Crime, character of ptmish- 

ment, 10; lynch law, 11. 

See also Slave codes. 
Crothers, Samuel, abolitionist, 

Cumberland Road, progress, 

34; state ownersnip, 35; 

decay, 35. 
Curtis, G. W., Brook Farm, 18. 
Cushing, Caleb, and Whit tier, 

Daggett, David, on negro 
citizenship, 85. 

Dana, C. A., Brook Farm, 18. 

Davis, C. A., as humorist, 32. 

Davis, Jefferson, and repudia- 
tion, 308. 

De Bow, J. D. B., on profits of 
cotton raising, 61. 

Debt, state foreign loans, 301; 
federal, of 1841, 303; state 
repudiation, 307, 308. 

Democratic party, split on Sub- 
Treasury, 30 J. 

Dew, T. R., defence of slavery, 

Diseases, slave, 107. 

Dismal Swamp, canal, 38; 

fu^tives in, 223. 
District of Columbia, sale of 

negroes for jail fees, 89; 

slave-trade, 129; slave code, 
▼OL. XVI.— aj 

156; movement for emanci- 
pation in, 165; control over 
slavery in, 251, 254, 257, 260, 
265-268; petitions for aboli- 
tion of slavery in, 2^6—261. 

Douglass, Anne, ptmished for 
teaching negroes, 118. 

Douglass, Frederick, parentage, 
81; in west, 194; as aboli- 
tion leader, 208; paper, 208. 

Dress, slave clothing, 100. 

Dresser, Amos, mobbed, 236. 

Duelling, activity (1840), 8. 

Dtmlap, R. P., 5usan case, 285. 

Economic conditions, problem 
before 18^0, 33; effect of 
steam navigation, 3^, 34; and 
anti-slavery, 54; of slavery, 
146, 169, 172; bibliography 
of southern, 334-336. See 
also Agrictilture, Finances, 
Manufactures, Transporta^ 

Education, elementary condi- 
tions, 20; normal, 21; in 
west and south 2 1 ; second- 
ary, 21; college, 22-25; for- 
eign, 23; professional, 25; 
capacity of negroes, 94; laws 
against ne^o, 118; coeduca- 
tional at Ooerlin, 192; mixed 
races there, 192; northern, 
for negroes, 244, 245 ; bibliog- 
raphy, 334. 

Election of 1840, Liberty party, 

Emancipation, in north, 153; 

movement in District of 

Columbia, 165; difficulties, 

240, 241 ; Adams on, through 

war, 2 71. See also Abolition, 

Anti-slavery, Mantimission. 

Emancipator^ 207, 333. 

Emerson, R. W., Brook Farm, 
18; as writer, 31; and aboli- 
tion, 202 ; hissed at Harvard, 


Encomium slave case, 292. 



Enlcrprise slAve case. 391. 

Episcopsl diurch in 1830. ij. 

Esaex Bank, wild-cat, agS, 

Everett, Edward, as orator. 37 ; 
and abolition. 14^. 

Extradition, for aiding fugitive 
slaves. 184-386: of aboli- 
tionists demanded, »88. 

Fall-likb utilization, 54. 

Federal convention, slavery 
question. 155. 

Fee. J. G., abolitionist. 17S. 

Finances, southern " advance 
Eysteni."6]; southern banks. 
64: government mi smanagc- 
inent, 397 ; condition of 
haxiia (i8j7). 198; distribu- 
tion of surplus. 199, 300, 30,1; 
speculation. 300-303; slate 
foreign loans, 301; panic of 
"837. 302; treasury notes. 
301: new federal debt, 303; 
federal deficit, 304; recovery 
from panic. 304: Sub-Trt-as- 
ury. 305-307; panic of 1839. 
'-'•. repudiation, 307, 


Undcr^rottnd Rfulroad. ia6~ 
231: " sell a nigger nuioing." 
21&; in Canada. 310: state 
jtirisdiction of rendition. iSo: 
personal liberty laws, j8o; 
Ohio's law. 181 ; damage suits 
for aiding, Matilda case.iSi: 
Van Zandt esse. >8i, 983; 
Pri^ decision. 183; itseflect. 
Latimercase. 383: resistance. 
Kennedy case. 134: rendition 
for aiding. 5iL;aR case, 384; 
New York case. 385; Ohio 
Lagocase. 386; intematicrnal 
cases, 391-393; bibiiogispby. 

Fuller, Margaret, Brook Pami, 

Gabriel insurrection, 157. 

Gag resolution, first, 859-261; 
Adams's protest, 160; re- 
newed, 361. ano; "Memora- 
ble Secession,' i6i;Giddings 
evades. 364; attempt to cen- 
sure Adams. 160; state res- 
against, 370; aban- 

: Gallat 



Food, slave, ,^. 

Foreign affairs. Sre Great 
Britain, Slave-trade. 

Free Presbyterian church, 214. 

Freeman' s J ouTHoI . 159. 

Fugitive slaves, colonial laws, 
53; act of 1793, 155, aSo; 
abolition aid, 3i\, 31%; "ly- 
ing out," 233 ; advertise- 
ments, 223; hunting with 
dogs, 334; punishment, 234; 
escape wiiile north, 235. 278- 
aSo; dangers to. in south. 
235; escape by sea, 226; 
interior route in southj xit; 

bert, as abolitionist, 

Gannett, E. S., and fugitive 

Garrison, W. L.. on Lundy, 
159; starts Liberator, 180; 
purpose, 180; as journalist, 
I Si; as speaker, 183; on 
slave-holders, 181, 33a, 733: 

abolition. 183; in west. 194; 
invective, 197; and Chan- 
Jung. '97; and women agi- 
tators, 199: and churches, 
199, 2ti; and charge of infi- 
deuty. 199; non - resistant, 
200; and abolition split. 200; 
denounces gradual emancipa- 
tion. 204; on going south. 
205; in England, 21a: and 
ree negroes, 215; and Tur- 



ner insurrection, 220; on col- 
onization, 239; mobbed, 246, 
247; and Constitution, 2^2; 
on Adams, 263; price on nis 
head, 289; and political abo- 
litionists, 316; not a typi- 
cal abolitionist, 320; bibliog- 
raphy, 326. 

Gaston, William, abolitionist, 

Gates, S. M.,and abolition, 265. 

Gayle, John, and extradition of 
abolitionists, 289. 

Gedney, T. R., VAmistad case, 


Genius of Universal Emancipa- 
tion, 159, 207, 133. 

Georgia, state railroad, 42; re- 
ward for Garrison, 289. 

Giddings, J. R. , abolitionist con- 
gressman, 196, 250; evades 
ga^ resolution, 264; censure, 
resignation, re-election, 273. 

Girard, Stephen, wealth, 7. 

Goodell, William, abolitionist, 

Goooloe, D. R., abolitionist, 

Gough, J. B., as orator, 27. 

Graves, W. J., duel, 8. 

Great Britain, indemnity for 
slaves, 164; and slave-trade, 
158, 164, 290, 291; colonial 
emancipation, 171; and abo- 
lition, 209; slave cases with, 

Greeley, Horace, as editor, 29; 
and abolition, 189. 

Green, Beriah, abolitionist, 183. 

Grimk^, Angelina, abolition ag- 
itator, 179, 198. 

Grimk^, Sax^, abolition agita- 
tor, 179, 198. 

Hairston, Samuel, slave own- 

in^s, 68. 
Haiti and slavery, 149, 157, 

Hammond^ J. H., defence of 

slavery, 137; on slavery and 
republican government, 150; 
on expansion of slavery, 151. 

Harper, William, defence of 
slavery, 137. 

Harvard College, pro-slavery, 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Brook 
Farm, 18; as writer, 30. 

Hermosa slave case, 292. 

Higginson, T. W., Brook Farm, 
18; abolitionist, ostracized, 
210, 213. 

Hiring-out of slaves, 130. 

History, new school, 27, 28. 

Hoar, Samuel, in Cmtrleston, 

Holly, Myron, political aboli- 
tionist, 317. 

Hopkins, J. H., defence of sla- 
very, 211. 

Hopkins, Mark, as college presi- 
aent, 25. 

Hopper, I. T., anti - slavery, 

Hotels, condition (1830), 47. 

Houses, slave quarters, loi. 
Humphries, Solomon, prosper- 
ous negro, 90. 
Htmter, R. M. T., speaker, 306. 

Illinois, canals, 39; railroad, 
43; abolition in, 194. 

Immigration and south, 71. 

Independent Treasury. S^e Sub- 

Indiana, canals, ^9; state rail- 
road, 43; abolition in, 194; 
jury trial for fugitive slaves, 

Indians, attempt to enslave, 50; 
as slave-holders, 77. 

Insurrections, negro, colonial, 
i; Gabriel, 157; Denmark 
'esey, 163; and abolition- 
ists, 217, 221; Nat Turner, 
218, 219; southern terror, 
220; Adams on, 271; bibliog- 
raphy, 342. 




Intellectual life. 5« Educa- 
tion, Literature. 

Internal improvements, Cum- 
berland Road, 34-36: rivalry, 
36; rivets and harbors, 36; 
canals, i6~^g; railroads, 39- 

Ircin. development of industry, 

Jackson, Andrew, and inter- 
nal improvements, 36; and 
negro soldiers. 84; and Texas. 
167; and abolition mail, 387. 

Jay. John, frees slaves, 133. 
ay, William, sta abolitionist. 
189; upholds gradual eman- 
cipation, 104; on amalgama- 
tion . J 16 ; on Constitution 
and slavery, 253. 
Jefferson, Thomas, and educa- 
tion, ai; and University of 
Virginia, 13; Ordinance of 



an Zandt, 2S3. 

Kbmblb. Francis A,, and sla- 
very. 198. 
Kendall, Amos, and abolition 

Kennedy fugitive case, 2S4. 

Kentucky, conditions and in- 
terests, 65; abolitionists. 178, 

Kidnapplnj; of free negroes. 88, 

King, Ruius. Ordinance of 
1785. '54. 

Labor, tree, of poor whites, ^4 ; 
of negroes 169; condition 
compared with slaves, 145, 
146; and slaverj', 323. See 
also Slaves, 

Lago, William, extradition case, 


Lalaurie, Madame, barbarity as 

Lane Theological Seminary, 
slavery controversy. 190. 191. 

Latimer fugitive - slave case, 

Latrobe. J. H. B., defines mfl- 

Law. black codes, 83. 85. 86, 
Se« also Slave codes. 

Lawless, L. E,. charge on lynch- 
ing. 117. 

Lewis, Evan, upholds gradual 
emancipation. 104, 

Liberator, founded, iSo; pur- 
pose, 180; success, iSt. Sft 
also Garrison. 

Liberia, founded, 163 ; non- 
success. 238. 

Liberty party, rise, 317; in 
campaign of 1840, 317; 
Chase and Sumner join, 318; 
use of balance of power, 

Lincoln, Abraham, and aboli- 
tion. 175. 194; on negro 
rights. 310; on paradox of 
slavery. 323, 

Literature, interest in, 19; ora- 
tory. 26; pulpit eloquence. 
a6; lyceum system, 27; his- 
tory, 27, aS; romance. 19. 
30; poetry. 30. 31; Emer- 
son, 31; humor, 32; bibliog- 
rapliy. 334. 

"Loco-Focos" and Sub-Treas- 

Longfellow. H. W,. and aboli- 

Lord. Nathan, and slavery, 211. 

Louisville, northern trade, 66. 

Lovejoy. E. P.. killed, 348. 

Lowell, J. R., as humorist, 32; 
as abolitionist, 185. 

Lundy. Benjamin, anti-slavery 
activity, 158, 161: paper, 
JS9. '°7, 333'. Garrison on. 



159; desponds, 173; origi- 
nates abolition, 180; and 
colonization, 238. 

Lunt, George, and abolition, 

Lyceiim system, 27. 

Lyell, Sir Charies, condones 
slavery, 137. 

Lynching, rise, 11; of negroes, 
116, 117; of abolitionists, 
235; bibliography, 342. 

McDoNOOH, John, provision 

for slaves, 134. 
McDuffie, George, demands the 

suppression of abolition, 237 ; 

on abolition and seces^on, 


Mcintosh lynched, 117. 

Mahan, Asa, abolitionist, 179; 
Oberlin, 191, 192. 

Maine, Susan extradition case, 

Mann, Horace, and Massachu- 
setts education, 20. 

Mansfield, Lord, slavery deci- 
sion, 52. 

Manufactures, development in 
north, 54; southern, 64; 
slave labor, 97. 

Manumission , self - purchase , 
131; purchase 01 family, 
131; purchase by abolition- 
ists, 132; restrictions, 132; 
amotmt, 132; occasion, 1^3; 
free papers, 133; by will, 
133; desire for, 134, 135. 
See also Emancipation. 

Marcy, W. L., and abolition, 
244; and extradition of abo- 
litionists, 289. 

Marriage, slave, 102. 

Martineau, Harriet, on social 
hfe, y, on Garrison, 183; and 
abolitionists, 210. 

Maryland, state railroad, 43; 
conditions and interests, 65; 
colonization society, 163. 

Massachusetts, disestablish- 

ment, 12; public education, 

20; abolisnes slavery, 153; 

rival aboUtion societies, 199; 

abolition hearing, 244; on 

gag resolution, 270. 
Matilda fugitive case, 281. 
May, S. J., abolitionist, 189; 

on insurrections, 221. 
Methodism, in west, 14; and 

slavery, 160, 212; split, 214. 
Michigan, state railroad, 42; 

abolition in, 194. 
Middle states, abolition, 189, 

195. 197- 
Miner, Charles, and slavery in 

District of Columbia, 165. 

Mining in south, 64. 

Missions, development, 14. 

Mississippi, repudiation, 308. 

'* Moon hoax,*' 28. 

Morgan, John, Oberlin, 191, 

Mormonism, rise, 17. 

Morris, Thomas, abolition sena- 
tor, 250; and Calhotm's reso- 
lutions (1837), 263. 

Motley, J. L., as historian, 28. 

Mott, Lucretia, abolition agita- 
tor, 198. 

Muller, Salome, enslavement, 

^^sic, negro, 95. 

National Era, 207, 333. 

Nauvoo, Mormons at, 17. 

Naval stores in south, 64. 

Negro seamen acts of South 
Carolina, 277, 290. 

Negroes, free, mobbed in north, 
p; colonial recognition, 52; 
in border states, 6 j ; as slave- 
holders, 77; servile race, 79; 
variation of character and 
type, 79; racial non-persist- 
ence, 79; amalgamation, 80- 
82; suffrage, 82; northern 
black codes, 83; northern 
social prejudice, 84; declin- 
1 ing status in south, 84; right 


acter, opportunily, 87; re- 
version to slavery, 88; kid- 
napping. 88; salefor jail (e«s. 
89; voluntary enslavement, 
90. 135: prosperous southern. 

fio; lyncbing of. 116, 117; as 
aborers, 169; at Oberlin 
College, iQi; as abolition 
leaders. loS. log; attitude of 
abolitionists towards, n$. 
315; schools destroyed in 
north, 144, 345; South Caro- 
lina seainen acts, 177, 790: 
status of fom^, in south, 


references there. 

Nettleton.Asahel, revivalist, 13. 

New England, character of 
abolition in, iSS, 194. iQd. 

New England Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety founded. 183. 

New Harmony, Rappists, ifi. 

New Haven and negro school, 

New Jersey, gradual emancipa- 
tion, 154. 
New Orleans, in 1840, 7; quad- 
New York, canals, 37; gradual 
emancipation, 154; jury trial 
for fugitive slaves, aSi; and 
extradition for aiding fugi' 
lives. 385; and extradition of 
abolitionists, 3S9. 
New York City, in 1B40, 6; 
pro-slavery riot, 146 ; real 
estate values {[833-1837). 
301. 303- 
New York Tribune, anti-sla- 

Newspapcrs, development, 18. 
Niles, Hezekiah, oa Garrison, 

North, gain over south (1840). 

6; social flux. 8: economic 
diversity. 54; slaves in, 78. 

North Carolina, early nesro 
suffrage, 83; anti-slavery la, 

North Star, 208, 333. 

Norlhup. Solomon, kidnapped, 

Northwest Ordinance on sla- 
very^ 156. 


Oberuk, founded, 191 ; co- 
education, 19a; negro schol- 
ars, 191; abolition centre. 

Ohio, canals, 39; Uack code, 
83; abolition in, 193, 196; 
fugitive-slave law, 181; La^ 
extradition case, »86; rise ol 
political abolition, 317. 

Oratory, practice, 16. 

Overseers, required, 118; char- 
acter, I lO. 

Owen, R, D., community, 16. 


■, J. G., 

Panama Congress, southern ob- 
jection, 165. 

Panic of 1837, causes, 398-302; 
crash, 302; effect on govern- 
ment, 303; Van Buren on, 
304; recovery, 304; of 1839, 

Paper motley, treasury notes 

Parkman, Francis, as historian. 

Pennsylvania, canals, 38; state 
railroad, 42; early anti- sla- 
very, 153; gradual emancjpa- 



tion, 153; freedom for slaves 
taken into. 279; personal lib- 
erty law (1826), 280; passes 
interest payments, 308. 

Pennsylvania Hall riot, 249. 

Pennsylvania Society, anti- 
slavery, 160. 

Personal liberty laws, early, 
280; based on Prigg decision, 

Petition, right of, abolition, in 
Congress, 256-259, 270; Sen- 
ate action, 259; House gag 
resolution, 259-261, 264, 269- 
271; attempts to censure 
Adams, 269, 272, 273. 

Phalansteries, 16. 

Philadelphia, in 1840, 6; anti- 
abolition riots, 249. 

Philanthropist, 159, 333;* mob- 
bed, 248. 

Phillips, Wendell, abolitionist, 
185; as orator, 207; ostra- 
cized, 210. 

Pinckney, H. L., gag resolu- 
tion, 259, 260. 

Poe, E. A., as novelist, 29. 

Poetry, development, 30, 31. 

Poinsett, J. R., secretary of 
war, 297. 

Polk, J. K., as slave-holder, 70; 
speaker, 304. 

Poor whites, motm tain class, 72, 
73; lowland class, 73; as 
laborers, 74; and slavery, 75; 
migration, 75; in northwest, 
76 ; submission to slave-hold- 
ers, 76. 

Population, north and south 
(1840), 6; slave (1830), 65; 
slave-holding, 67, 68. 

Post-office, exclusion of aboli- 
tion mail, 286-288. 

Presbvterianism, in 1850, 13; 
and slavery, 160; split, 213. 

Prescott, W. H., as historian, 

Prices, cotton, 60, 61; slave, 

Prigg i*s. Pennsylvania, 282. 

Public lands, grants for canals, 
37; speculation, 300; specie 
circular, 302 ; effect of panic, 


Punishment, of criminals, 10; 
of slaves, private 112; basis, 
113; instruments, 113; capi- 
tal, 115; of fu^tives, 224. 

Puritanism , survival ( 1 83 o) , i a . 

Quadroons of New Orleans, 

Quakers, and slavery, 160; 

petition against slavery, 2j58. 
Quincy, Edward, abolitiomst, 

187; ostracized, 210. 
** Quintuple Treaty," 291. 

Railroads, economic revolu- 
tion, 39; first, 40; introduc- 
tion of steam, 40; construc- 
tion (1830- 1840), 41, 301; 
ownership and public use, 
regulation, 41, 43; state 
owned, 42; public aid, 4^; 
crude conditions, 44 ; in south, 

Randolph, John, frees slaves, 


Rankin, John, southern aboli- 
tionist, 159; goes to Ohio, 
103; Free Presbyterian 
cnurch, 214; on amsagama- 
tion, 216. 

Rappist commimity, 16. 

Rawle, William, anti-slavery, 

Religion, spirit (1830), 11, 
1 5 ; Sunday observances, 1 2 ; 
Sunday-schools, 12; churches 
as social centres, 13: revi- 
vals. 13; sects (1830), 13; 
missions, 14; theological 
schools, 25; character of 
slave, 105-107; argument 
on slavery, 139-142; bibliog- 

J^P^y, 334- See also sects 
by name. 




Repudiation of state debts, 307, 

Revenue, distribution of sur- 
plus, J90. 300. 303; deficit 
(1837-1843), 30J, 307. 

Revivals, era. 13. 

Revolution, effect on slavery, 
'S3'- negro soldiers. 153. 

Rhett, R. B., ■Memorable 
Secession," 161. 

Rhode Island, gradual emanci- 
pation. IJ4. 

Rice, conditions of culture, 

Rights, natural, and slavery, 
153, 166, 310; slavery and 
freedom of speeeb. 105, 134, 
344, 31a. 3*1. 

Riots, activity, 5; anti-aboli- 

River and harbor bills, early, 
Roads, conditi< 

Robinson, H, D.. raobbed, 136. 
Roman Catholicchurch, growth. 

Romance writers. 29, 30. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, on Bir- 
ney's candidacy (1340). 319. 
RuHin, Edmund, agricultural 

St. Louis, northern trade. 66, 

Savannah in 1840, 7. 

Search, right of. and slave- 
trade. 164, 390, !qi. 

Secession, and slavery, 151: 
threats and abolition. 254. 
259-362, 269. 

Sectionalism, foreigners ob- 

Servants in colonial times, 49. 

Seward, W, H,, Van Zandt 
ease, 283; and extradition 
for aiding fugitives, 385 ; 
governor, 305. 

Shaker coiamanily, 16. 

Shaw. Lemuel, Latimer case, 

Shipterf. J. J., Oberlin, igi; 
and ne^ro scholars. 191. 

Slade. William, abolition con- 
gressman, a;o. 13T. 

Slave codes, colonial, 5:; pro- 
tection of slaves. 109; slaves 
as property, no, 123; law 
agamst asscmbling.i 1 o;other 
restrictions, no; severity of 
punishments, jio; murder 
of white man, no; curfew 
and patrol, 1 1 1 ; private pun- 
ishment, III; contradictory 
basis of punishment, 1 13; 
inEtrumenb, 113; whipping 
of women, 114; public jus- 
tice, us: slave testimony. 
115; capital crimes, 115; 
summary tribunals, 1 16; 
lynching. 116, 117: offences 
by whites, 117. 118; con- 
sorting and trading with 
slaves, 111; stealing slaves, 
118; teacning negroes. n8, 

Slave-hrtders, proportion of 
population, 67; ruling class. 
68, 76, .68; social life. 68. 
69; absenteeism. 69; small 
holders, 69; professional men, 
70; Indian, 77; negro. 77: 
and abohtion, 104, 231. 31a. 

Slavery, controversy unique, 3; 
Tocqueville on, 5; anomaly 
in America, 49; Indian, ;o; 
introduction of negro, 50; 
status in colonial times. 50- 
53; English decision against. 
52; decline. 53: effect of 
cotton, S3; basis of northern 
opposition, 53. 54; unanim- 
ity of southern defence. 65. 
137; and poor whiles, 73, 7s; 
persistence in north. 78; 
based on physical force, 109. 



120-122; anax:hronism, 122, 
169, 172, 322; difficult to 
generalize on, 136; evolution 
of defence, 136; types of 
defenders, 137; arguments, 
historical precedent , 138; 
Scriptures, 139-142, 167; 
physical argument, 142; in- 
tellectual argument, 142; ad- 
vantage to slaves, 143-146; 
economic ^ood of whites, 146, 
169; social well-being of 
wlutes, 147-149, 168, 311; 
safety of whites, 149; and 
Haiti, 149, 157, 165; posi- 
tive good, 150; policy ot ex- 
pansion, 151; above Union, 
151; and Latin- America, 170; 
south enforces silence con- 
cerning, 206, 234, 312; and 
Constitution, 250-255; con- 
trol over in EHstrict of Colum- 
bia, 251, 254, 257, 260, 265- 
368; Calhoun's argument 
268; interstate status, 276 
international cases, 291-295 
Van Buren's policy, 296 
contradictory defence, 311 
remedies suggested, j 1 3-3 1 5 
effect on, of forbidding dis- 
cussion, 321; and rights of 
minority, 322 ; Lincoln's par- 
adox, 322; and free labor, 
323; bibliography, general, 
324-326; of arguments, 337- 
340; of particular communi- 
ties, 340. See also Abolition, 
Anti - slavery. Colonization, 
Emancipation, Fugitive, In- 
surrections, Manumission, 
Negroes, and other Slave 
Slaves, labor and southern 
staples, ^8-62, 98; white, 
77; physical types, 92; char- 
acter, 93, 142; brutality, 93; 
indolence, 94; immorality, 
04; intellect, 94, 95, 142 ; folk- 
lore, 95; music, 95; non- 

agricultural employment, 95; 
mechanics, 96 ; nouse - ser- 
vants, 97, 100, 145; as field- 
hands, 98; hours of labor, 
task -work, 99; women as 
field -hands, 99; food, 99; 
clothing, 100; cost of main- 
tenance, 10 1 ; proportion of 
laborers, 10 1; quarters, loi; 
marriage, 102; family life, 
103; treatment of infirm, 
104; privileges, 104; recrea- 
tions, 105; religion. 105, 106; 
religious instruction, 106; 
diseases, 107; mortality, 108; 
desire for freedom, 134, 135; 
freedom from anxiety, 144; 
happiness, 145, 167; condi- 
tion compared with free 
labor, 145, 146; British in- 
demnity, 164; knowledge of 
abolition agitation, 216; sta- 
tus in free states, 278; right 
of transit for, 279; no relief 
from abolition, 309. See also 
Fugitives, Manumission, Ne- 
Slave-trade, domestic: power 
and reasons for selling slaves, 
123; border-state breeding, 
124; migration of planters, 
124; advertisements, 124; 
dealers, 125; public auctions, 
125; vicissitudes of owner- 
ship, 127; division of estates, 
127; separation of families, 
127; prices, 128; southward 
movement, 129; collection of 
slaves, 129; overland march, 
129; water routes, 1 30 ; regu- 
lation, 130; amount, 130; hir- 
ing out, 130; purchase of 
freedom, 131, 132; bibliog- 
raphy, ^43. 

Foreign: in colonial times. 
51; revolutionary denuncia- 
tion, 153; constitutional com- 
gromise, 1^5; prohibited by 
rreat Britain, 158, 171; 



piracy, 158; right of search. 
164, 190. 191; laws against, 
not unforced, jgo; " Quin- 
tuple Treaty." 191: Ashbur- 
ton Treaty, 391 ; bibLog- 
raphy. 341. 

Smith. Genit, as abolitionist, 
180, 348. 

Smith. Joseph, and Mormon- 
ism, 17; death, 17. 

Smith, Sydney, on state repu- 
diation. 308, 

Social conditions, foreign ob- 
sen'ers, 4; Tocqueville's esti- 
mate, s; individual wealth. 
7; sectional contrasts, 8; 
spirit of misrule, 8; adnuniS' 
'U^tion of criminal law. lo; 
lynch law, 11; religion, 11- 
15; temperance. 15 ; woman's 
rights. 15. 198; socialistic 
communities, :6-i8; travel, 
44-47; hotels, 47; southern 
hospitality, 48, 68; com- 
plexity 01 southern. 6;; hu- 

bibliography. 333. 334. See 
also Slavery, and references 

Socialism, communities, 16-18. 

Somerset slave case. si. 

Sources, on abolition, ^37; 
writings of statesmen, 318; 
autobiographies and reminis- 
cences, 338; tfa\'els, 33<)- 
331; proceedings of socie- 
ties, 331; periodicals, 33a; 
on southern conditions, 333- 
335; on slavery discussion, 
337-340; on fugitives, 340; 
on colonization. 343. 

South, relative decline (1840), 
6; social stability, 8; condi- 
tion of cities 10; education. 
ai, 33; colleges. 33-34; '^>'' 
roads, 4s; steamers. 45; 
roads, 46. 47 ; nolels. 47; hos- 
pitality, 4S. 68; economic im- 
mobility. 54-56; classifica- 

tion of lands. 56 ; their value. 
57 ; character of agrictilture. 
57. 6j: staple productions. 
57-63; agricultural depend- 
ence on north. 59; "advance 
system," 6a; self-supporting 
plantations, 63; non-agricult- 
ural industry, 63; banks, 
64; border slates. 65; social 
complexitv. 67; white farm- 
ers, 71; foreign papulation. 
71 ; threatened Doycoti of 
north, 337 ; and caloniia- 
tion. 337; bibliography of 
social conditions. 333, 334; 
of economic conditions, 334- 
336. See also Poor whites, 
^very. and references then. 
South Carolina, freeholders 
court. 116; negro seamen 
acts, 877, '9°'. 3Jid Samuel 

Spain. JJAmisiad case. 393. 

Sparks. Jared. as historian, 3;. 

Specie circular, purpose. 301. 

Speculation, government de- 
posits and land, 300, 301; 
railroad, 301; general. 301. 

Speech, freedom of, and sla- 
very. 105. a34. 344. 313. aai. 

Steamships, economic effect, 
33; river and lake packets. 
45: regulation, 45; coast- 
wise, 46; ocean, 46. 

Stewart. P. P., Oberlin, 191. 

Still. Peter, kidnapped, 88; 

Stone, Lucy, abolition agitator, 

Stowe, H, B., as writer, 37. 
Stuart, Moses, and slavery 311. 

Sub-Treasury, first bill (1837). 



Sugar, conditions of culture, 58. 

Sumner, Charles, hissed at 
Harvard, 211; on Creole case, 
294; joins Liberty party, 

Stmday-schools in 1830, 12. 

Supreme court, Prigg vs. Penn- 
sylvania, fugitive-slave law, 
282; Jones vs. Van Zandt, 
aiding fugitives, 283; Ken- 
tucky vs. Dennison, extradi- 
tion for aiding fugitives, 286. 

Susan fugitive case, 285. 

Swaim, William, anti-slavery, 

Swart wout, Samuel, embezzle- 
ment, 297. 

Swift, Benjamin, and Calhoim's 
resolutions (1837), 263. 

Taney, R. B., frees slaves, 87. 

Tappan, Arthur, abolitionist, 
189; southern reward for, 

Tappan, Lewis, abolitionist, 
189; and abolition split, 201; 
church trial, 21a; house 
sacked, 246. 

Taylor, E. T., as preacher, 26. 

Temperance movement, 15. 

Territories, legislation on sla- 
very for, 154-156; control 
over slavery in, 251, 254. 

Texas, annexation movement 
(1836), 267; checked, 267. 

Thompson, George, imprisoned, 

Thompson, George, of England, 
abolition agitation in Amer- 
ica, 246; attempt to mob, 
246, 247. 

Thome, J. A., abolitionist, 179. 

Tobacco, decay of culture, 57. 

Tocqueville, Alexis de, on social 
conditions. 5; on slavery, 5. 

Torrey, C. T., imprisoned, 235; 
political abolitionist, 317. 

Transit right for slaves through 
free states, 279. 

Transportation, bibliography, , 
336. See also Canals, Kail- ' 
roads, Roads, Steamships. 

Travel, conditions (i 830-1 84r\ 
44-48; bibliography, 3- y- 

Treasury, mismanagement, 297 ; 

notes, 303. See also Suo- 

Treaties, Quintuple (i 841), 291 ; 

Ashburton (1842), 291. 
Trollope, Frances E., on social 

life, 4. 
True American^ 178; office 

mobbed, 234. 
Truth, Sojourner, as abolition 

agitator, 209. 
Tubman, Harriet, abolitionist, 

Turner Nat, insurrection, 217- 

Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, 

indictment of abolitionist, 


Underground Railroad, be- 
ginning, 226; records, 226; 
slave knowledge of, 227; in- 
stances of use, 227; con- 
spiracy, 228; routes, 228; 
pursuit, 228; character of 
operators, 229; activity, 230; 
effect on slave values, 230; 
bibliography, 341. 

Ursuline Convent destroyed, 9. 

Utica, anti-abolition riot, 248. 

Van Burbn, Martin, U Amis- 
tad case, 293; adopts Jack- 
son's policy, 296; on slavery, 
296; cabinet, 297; and panic, 
304; and Sub-Treasury, 305, 

Van Zandt, John, fugitive-slave 

case, 281, 283. 
Vermont, abolishes slavery, 
153; resolution against sla- 
very in District of Colimibia, 
261; against gag resolution. 

ll',''l'[<^'s Appca!. i,j 
"a.shinK'ton. Bushr<,d, colon. 

z.mon societv, if^i. 
UashinEton in 1840. 7 5,, 

^Jr^j"' P-^as, as coUeze 
president, 35 ^*' 

°Sl"c,^'"' ""'"'»«'"»■■ 

Sb^n.S'"'"''""' "*■ 

West t<|„e»U„. „; ooltegoi. 
aj. and slavery. is4-i>6- 

fyo-rl,™' ""^atioo to. 
Wet pyji i„ ,8,„ 

""" R=«rve. .tolitloo to. 
Whitley, Phyllis, p^^ ,j I 


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